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 British seed firm 'linked to French E. coli outbreak'

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Join date : 2011-06-05

PostSubject: British seed firm 'linked to French E. coli outbreak'   Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:23 am

British seed firm 'linked to French E. coli outbreak'

UK officials are investigating reports of a possible link between a UK seed firm and an E. coli outbreak in France.

News agency AFP said 10 people have been affected by E. coli in Bordeaux.

It is thought a number of them had eaten rocket and mustard vegetable sprouts, believed to have been grown from seeds sold by Thompson and Morgan.

The Ipswich-based company told the BBC it had no evidence of a link. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said no E. coli cases had been reported in the UK.

In a brief statement, Thompson and Morgan said it sold "thousands of packets and have had no reported problems".

"It is highly unlikely to be the seeds themselves but the way that they were used and handled," the statement said.

Paul Hansord, the managing director of the company added: "We make sure that everything we do is to a high standard."

Seven of those affected by the E. coli outbreak, who ate the sprouts at a country fair at Begres near Bordeaux, needed hospital treatment.

The FSA says it is asking the company for more information about the seeds.

There is no suggestion of a link to the German E. coli outbreak, which came from bean sprouts grown on an organic farm, but two people are said to be infected with a similar strain.

Frederic Lefebvre, France's secretary of state for consumer affairs was quoted by AFP recommending "consumers who bought these same products not use them".

Mr Lefebvre added: "The link between the symptoms and eating of the sprouts so far has not been definitively established."

An FSA spokesman told the BBC: "We have been in contact with the French authorities about this outbreak and are aware that a UK business has been named in connection with it.

"No cases of food poisoning have been reported in the UK linked with the outbreak in France but we are in close contact with the Health Protection Agency.

"We have asked for further information from the French authorities with regard to the three named type of seeds to help us carry out investigations in the UK."
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