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UPDATE: E. coli outbreak in Europe may not be caused by German bean sprouts

German authorities say bean sprouts have tested negative for the strain of E. coli responsible for a deadly outbreak in Europe


Hamburg, Germany – News sources are reporting today that German officials have ruled out bean sprouts as the cause of the deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe. Bean sprouts have tested negative for the strain.

According to coverage from NPR.org, the World Health Organization says time is running out for German officials to find the source of the outbreak.

At this stage, say officials, contaminated vegetables have likely disappeared from the market and it will be difficult for investigators to link patients to contaminated produce weeks after they first became infected.

RELATED: WHO confirms strain of bacteria in European outbreak

Authorities had earlier suspected bean sprouts as the source of the E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200.

They were expecting to confirm people were sickened by bean sprouts from a German organic farm, Gärtnerhof Bienenbüttel.

Authorities, reports FlexNews.com, shut down the farm and recalled all its produce. The farm is found in the Uelzen district, about 70 km south of Hamburg.

Fallout in Spain

The news that the source could be bean sprouts caused outrage in Spain, reports the U.K. Guardian. Spain has seen a huge slump in demand for its produce after Germany initially blamed the outbreak on Spanish-grown cucumbers.

The BBC is reporting that the European Commission has proposed a 150-million-Euro aid package to help farmers whose products have been hit by the current E. coli outbreak.