It has been over a week since the E. coli outbreak in Germany first started making headlines, and confusion is still reigning supreme. Yesterday it was reported that infected sprouts from a German sprout farm may be responsible for the E. coli outbreak that has, by now, left at least 22 victims dead and hundreds more in the hospital. Almost immediately, however, German agriculture officials refuted these claims by saying that the sprout samples tested have failed to show evidence of E. coli contamination.
While this may be true, other countries are saying that a clean bill of health for current sprout crops may not mean much when it was last week’s that caused the outbreak. "All the culture tells you is that in the particular batch that you happen to have in your hand, it's not there," said Dr. Timothy Jones, the Tennessee state epidemiologist who serves on a federal food safety committee, in an interview with MSNBC. "It doesn't mean the batch last week was clean or that the box next door was clean."
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Meanwhile, Spanish farmers are still reeling from the initial allegations that the E. coli outbreak was caused by a tainted shipment of raw vegetables imported from Spain. According to a New York Times report, the drop in demand for Spanish produce has led to a loss that is adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars. While Spain has not yet commented on these new developments, it’s expected that Germany and the European Union may have to compensate Spanish farmers for the lost revenue and job cuts that resulted from this snafu of epic proportions.