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EFSA Task Force reports on Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak

05 Jul 2011
EFSA report: Tracing seeds, in particular fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds, in relation to the Shiga toxin-producing

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a new report from its Task Force on the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O104:H4 outbreak in Germany and France. The EFSA Task Force was established to coordinate investigations to track down the possible source of the French and German outbreaks of STEC O104:H4. The Task Force has now concluded that one lot of fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt and used to produce sprouts is the most likely common link between the two outbreaks.

However, EFSA underlines it cannot be excluded that other lots of fenugreek imported from Egypt during the period 2009-2011 may be implicated. The agency recommends the European Commission that all efforts should be made to prevent any further consumer exposure to the suspect seeds and that forward tracing be carried out in all countries which may have received seeds from the concerned lots.

In this context, EFSA continues 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 29 June 2011 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and EFSA published a joint rapid risk assessment about the new epidemiological developments in relation with the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O104:H4. ECDC is continuously monitoring the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak and publishes a daily epidemiological update which includes the most recent numbers of  haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and non-HUS cases reported by EU Member States.

Read more about Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) on ECDC site:

E.coli health topic page

ECDC risk assessments on Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)

Public health advice on prevention of diarrhoeal illness with special focus on Shiga toxin - producing Escherichia coli (STEC), also called verotoxin - producing E. coli (VTEC) or enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) 

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