E. coli tainted farm cleared to reopen

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15 Jul, 2011 Updated Fri 15 Jul 2011 08:31 CEST
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A farm in Lower Saxony, which was the origin of the E. coli outbreak in Germany that killed 53 people, has been cleared to reopen.

All tests for contamination have come back negative, clearing the proprietor in Bienenbüttel to produce vegetables once more, said the state Agricultural Ministry in Hannover.

Egyptian fenugreek seeds used at the farm have been identified as the original source of the May and June outbreak, which shocked Germany and spread across Europe while worried authorities struggled to identify its cause.

In its wake, authorities first blamed Spanish cucumbers and fingered various restaurants before settling on the farm in Bienenbüttel, which is not far from where many victims became ill in Hamburg.

This week, the Hamburg prosecutor’s office said it had closed its investigation against several food sellers and a restaurant, finding no evidence they had violated food safety rules.

Ultimately, the World Health Organisation confirmed more than 4,000 infections in 14 European countries, the United States and Canada – more than 3,900 of them in Germany.

In Bienenbüttel, authorities say they have removed all fenugreek seeds from the farming operation.

The farm operator has threatened a lawsuit to allow operations to resume, saying economic losses from the situation had been enormous.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/mdm

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2011/07/15 08:31

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