UK issues sprout warning after E. coli fears

British authorities warn consumers against eating the food after links to French outbreak surface

Topics: Health,

UK issues sprout warning after E. coli fearsA woman holds bean sprouts with chopsticks in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, June 5, 2011. Health authorities say locally grown beansprouts in northern Germany have been identified as the likely cause of an outbreak of E. coli that has killed at least 22 people and sickened hundreds in Europe. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer) (Credit: AP)

British officials warned consumers Saturday against eating uncooked sprouts after authorities in France linked seeds distributed by an English vendor to an E. coli outbreak near the city of Bordeaux.

France halted the sale of fenugreek, mustard and arugula sprout seeds from British mail order seed and plant company Thompson & Morgan after eight people were hospitalized following an E. coli outbreak. French investigators found that two of them were sickened after consuming sprouts from the three seed types in the southwestern town of Begles, a suburb of Bordeaux.

Some of those affected were infected by the same strain of E. coli that has killed 44 people — all but one in Germany — and sickened more than 3,700 in recent weeks.

In a statement, Thompson & Morgan said the link being made by French officials was unsubstantiated, adding that it believed that “something local in the Bordeaux area, or the way the product has been handled and grown, is responsible for the incident rather than our seeds.”

A spokesman for Britain’s Food Safety Agency said that officials “don’t have definitive evidence that the company is the source of the contamination,” that no food poisoning cases have been reported in the U.K., and that investigations were ongoing. But in what the agency described as a precautionary move, it released a statement warning that “sprouted seeds should only be eaten if they have been cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout.”



The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy, noted that European health authorities have misattributed the source of E. coli outbreaks in the past. Spanish cucumbers, for example, were wrongly blamed for the illnesses in Germany.

Thompson & Morgan said that French officials were still testing the seeds and investigating how they were grown. In the meantime, the company said it had submitted samples of its seeds to British health authorities for investigation.

Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this story.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>