According to German health officials, the E-coli outbreak that struck Germany last month was linked to Egyptian fenugreek seeds. The seeds were imported from Egypt and grown at the farm where the deadly outbreak originated.
A spokesman for the Agriculture Minister in Lower Saxony, where the farm is located, emphasized the seeds as a possible cause, stressing that they were imported shortly before the outbreak. Health officials, however, are more cautious and report that they have not yet discovered the cause of the contamination.
The E-coli outbreak was one of the largest in recent history. Since its beginning in early May, the outbreak killed 49 people, most of them in Germany, In addition to the deaths, the outbreak sickened over 41,000 people across Europe and the United States (most of who travelled to or from Germany). According to EU sources, the outbreak was one of the largest since the end of the Second World War.
Egyptian Agriculture Minister Ayman Abu Hadeed denied German claims, stating that they have no basis in scientific fact and going as far as to denounce them as lies. He claimed that the strain of E-coli in Europe does not exist in Egypt and reiterated that Egyptian exports are rigorously screened for contamination.
European scientists have not definitively blamed the Egyptian seeds, pointing out that they have no positive bacteriological tests and that they still do not know the source of the E-coli contamination.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer