Focus shifts to sprouts in E.coli outbreak

June 6, 2011 - 3:42 AM
Contaminated Vegetables Europe

Poly tunnels at a vegetable farm is seen in the Uelzen district, northern Germany, Sunday, June 5, 2011. Different kinds of sprouts from the organic farm in the greater Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be traced to infected persons in five different German states, Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann told reporters. The farm was shut down Sunday and all of its produce _ including fresh herbs, fruits, flowers and potatoes_ was recalled. At least one of the farm's employees was also infected with the E.coli bacteria, the minister said. (AP Photo/dapd, Axel Heimken)

BERLIN (AP) — Frightened consumers are awaiting the release of official test results that will most likely confirm that vegetable sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany caused the terrifying E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 and sickened more than 2,200.

Authorities say even if sprouts from the farm in the greater Uelzen region, between Hamburg and Hannover, are confirmed as the only source of the bacterial epidemic, more cases of the illness are likely for at least another week.

Health officials are warning against earting any sprouts, but are also keeping up a general warning for tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuces.

German Health Minister Daniel Bahr said late Sunday that the government cannot give an all-clear until the official results — expected for Monday — come in.