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Suspected Egyptian Sprout Seeds Still on Sale

Egyptian sprout seeds suspected to be contaminated with the deadly E.coli bacteria which has caused a rampaging outbreak in Europe are still believed to be on sale. The EU has belatedly announced a blanket ban on more imports.

European health officials say one batch of contaminated fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt is possibly the source behind the recent E.coli outbreaks in France and Germany. But, the suspected fenugreek seeds may have been sold in more countries including Spain, Britain and Austria. Health experts say some of the contaminated Egyptian fenugreek seeds may still be in the European food chain.

The EU has banned further import of fenugreek seeds from Egypt till Oct. 31. One particular Egyptian exporter was identified and the EU recommends all members to destroy seeds from this exporter. But, the exporter’s name was not released.

This EU move may be too little, too late, as contaminated seeds have been distributed widely in Europe. It may be too difficult to identify the culprit seeds as the bacteria amount may be too minute to detect.

The deadly E.coli outbreak has so far killed 51 people and sickened greater than 4,000 patients in Germany since May. In France, the same E.coli bacteria caused a smaller outbreak last month.

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