Egyptian Fenugreek Seeds Blamed for Deadly E. coli Outbreak

Gretchen Vogel

BERLIN—European and German officials say they have identified fenugreek seeds from Egypt as the source of the deadly outbreak of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) that has sickened more than 4000 people and killed 49.

In a report released today, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that a specific lot of seeds imported from Egypt to Germany is the most likely common link between the German outbreak, which was traced to sprouts produced on a farm in Lower Saxony, and a more recent one in France, in which home-grown fenugreek, mustard, and arugula sprouts seem to be the culprit. In both outbreaks, patients were sickened by the same E. coli strain, called EHEC O104:H4. (EHEC is also called STEC, for shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli.)

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