Sprouts must be cooked to avoid E.coli: EU food agency
Posted: June 29th, 2011 - 3:50pm by Doug Powell
European Union food safety and disease prevention agencies joined a mounting chorus today and said, don’t eat raw sprouts, as clues emerged about the origin of seeds.
AFP reports the two bodies conducted a study and said that they "strongly recommend to advise consumers not to grow sprouts for their own consumption and not to eat sprouts or sprouted seeds unless they have been cooked thoroughly."
The report by the European Food Safety Authority in Italy and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden said sprouts are often sold as mixes and "during re-packaging cross-contamination cannot be excluded."
Meanwhile CIDRAP reports new trace-back investigations in German and French E. coli outbreaks are pointing to two lots of fenugreek seeds that were imported from Egypt, according to the latest threat assessment from European officials.
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. But the agencies cautioned that there is no lab evidence yet tying the seeds to the outbreaks.
The ECDC and the EFSA said they have urgently requested that the German-based company that imported the seeds help them track other customers who received fenugreek seeds from the two lots.
Officials suspect that Egyptian fenugreek seeds imported in 2009 are linked to the French E coli cluster and that a batch from 2010 is linked to the German outbreak. The ECDC identified the seed importer as AGA SAAT GMBH, based in Dusseldorf, Germany. It said a UK company that reportedly supplied the sprout seeds linked to the French cluster obtained the seeds from AGA SAAT GMBH.