EU Blocks Egyptian Seeds

In the wake of a deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany, EU officials have moved to ban some Egyptian imports. Earlier this summer, an E. coli outbreak struck Germany and parts of Western Europe, leaving nearly fifty dead and roughly 3,000 sickened. The outbreak even spread beyond the EU’s borders, reaching as far as the United States. The original source of the outbreak was eventually traced back to a bean sprout farm in Germany.

While the source of the initial contamination has not yet been officially confirmed, German and EU officials have blamed it on Egyptian fenugreek seeds, which they see as the most likely cause of the contamination and as the most logical link between the E. coli outbreaks in both Germany and France.

Egyptian officials are outraged at the EU ban. Ayman Abo Hadid, Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture, has denied any connection between Egyptian fenugreek seeds and the E. coli outbreak, claiming that the strain of E. coli that struck Europe is not the same strain that is common in Egypt.

In addition, Abo Hadid claims that Egyptian agricultural officials have tested their fenugreek seeds, tests which have been duplicated by American labs, with all results being negative for E. coli contamination.

The Egyptian government is threatening an official response against EU exports.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer