According to CIDRAP (my second favorite source of Food Safety News) a trace-back investigations in both the German and French E. coli O104:H4 outbreaks are pointing to two lots of fenugreek seeds that were imported from Egypt (not sure what happened to the Italian connection of yesterday). Sprouts from Egyptian fenugreek seeds are suspected in both a cluster of French E coli O104:H4 illnesses and the large outbreak in Germany involving the same strain, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a risk assessment today.
According to officials, the tracing back is progressing and has thus far shown that fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt either in 2009 and/or 2010 by the company AGA SAAT GMBH are implicated in both outbreaks. There is still much uncertainty about whether this is truly the common cause of all the infections as there are currently no positive bacteriological results.
In particular, the 2009 lot appears to be implicated in the outbreak in France and the 2010 has been considered to be implicated in the German outbreak. Furthermore, this link does not explain the most recent case in Sweden and Denmark, currently under investigation and in which, thus far, no consumption of sprouts has been implicated. An investigation on the distribution of seeds from these lots throughout Germany and Europe by AGA SAAT has been urgently requested. AGA SAAT exported some of its seeds to Thompson & Morgan in the UK from where seeds were exported to France. It is also noted that seeds sold for sprouting are often sold as seed mixes and that during re-packaging cross- contamination cannot be excluded. Therefore, any advice to consumers should at this time cover all seeds and raw sprouts derived thereof.
Jun 29 ECDC risk assessment report
Jun 29 ECDC outbreak update