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German Officials: Organic Sprouts Not Cause of E. coli Outbreak

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In a surprising U-turn, German officials said initial tests published Monday provided no evidence that sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany were the cause of the country's deadly E. coli outbreak.

The Lower-Saxony state agriculture ministry said 23 of 40 samples from the sprout farm suspected of being behind the outbreak have tested negative for the highly agressive, "super-toxic" strain of E. coli bacteria. It said tests were still under way on the other 17 sprout samples.

"The search for the outbreak's cause is very difficult as several weeks have passed since its suspected start," the ministry said in a statement, cautioning that further testing of the sprouts and their seeds was necessary to achieve full certainty.


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