To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

June 12, 2011

German officials see no E. coli fault at organic farm

by Brian Rohan

Officials investigating an organic farm in northern Germany said on June 11 they do not expect to take legal action against it for causing an E.coli outbreak that has killed at least 31 people.

Authorities link the epidemic, the deadliest in modern history, to contaminated bean sprouts and shoots grown at the farm that made their way to restaurants and kitchens across the country.

"Everything we have looked into until now shows the farm was flawless," said Gert Hahne, spokesperson for the consumer protection office of Lower Saxony state. "It is hygienic and followed all the regulations."No matter how you look at it we don't see any fault with the farm or legal ground to hold them accountable," he said by telephone. "You cannot punish someone for having bad luck."

The source of the bacterium behind a deadly outbreak of E. coli in Germany remains a mystery.
However, the farm has been shut down. Authorities say results of tests taken there have yet to place E.coli on site, but that some 500 samples are still being examined -- including some from the farm's seeds, which came from Europe and Asia.

The German government had come under fire at home and around Europe for failing to pin down the cause of the month-long outbreak, which only on Friday was officially identified as having come from the bean sprouts.

Scientists said then that traces of the deadly strain were detected in a packet of bean sprouts from the farm found in a family's rubbish bin after two of the family members fell ill from eating them. The results were confirmed on June 11.

About a quarter of the near 3 000 people sick from E.coli have developed a severe complication from the bacteria called haemolytic uraemic syndrome, or HUS, which affects the blood, kidneys and nervous system.

Authorities warn that the particularly virulent outbreak is still a threat, and the death toll may rise despite signs of a slowdown in new infections.

Late on June 10, Health Minister Daniel Bahr responded to mounting criticism over the handling of the outbreak, telling broadcaster ZDF that information should have been shared sooner.

Several scientists say the investigation should have focused on bean sprouts earlier.


Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP