The Ministry of Agriculture of the Land Lower Saxony announced Sunday that sprout products from a horticultural farm in the district of Uelzen is under the suspicion of having spread EHEC germs. The Ministry recommends refraining from the consumption of sprouts for the time being.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) advise and support the authorities in charge of food monitoring in the Laender in their current outbreak investigations. The National Reference Laboratory for Escherichia coli of BfR, which cooperates closely with the authorities in Lower Saxony, will examine the samples of the sprouts with a new validated method. A definitive detection of the EHEC O104:H4 pathogen on the sprouts, which is the cause for the current outbreak, is not yet available.
Against the backdrop of the severe outbreak in May 2011, BfR and RKI continue to recommend, by way of precaution, not to consume non-heated types of vegetables which are suspected of being the cause of the infection (tomatoes, cucumbers and salads) and have been purchased in Northern Germany, until the identification of the precise cause of the outbreak. Already low germ counts are sufficient for an infection, so that a transmission is very easily possible.
BfR supports all measures which contribute to a rapid clarification of the current EHEC infection outbreak.
Source: Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)