Contaminated beans and bean sprouts -- including lentils, alfalfa and more -- from an organic farm in Northern Germany caused the E. coli outbreak that spread through the country over the last several weeks, German health officials said on Friday (June 10). The outbreak has resulted in 35 deaths and more than 3,255 infected individuals, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization. Authorities traced the outbreak from patients to restaurants to farms to identify the source, but the findings have yet to be confirmed with positive laboratory tests, notes The New York Times. The bacterial strain has proved to be particularly deadly, with infections leading to haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a blood clotting disease causing kidney failure.
Previously, authorities fingered cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce as possible sources of the lethal E. coli, spelling disaster for various sectors of European agriculture as demand for crops plummeted. Russia, for example, banned all imports of vegetables from Europe, and will resume imports only when the European Union provides documented guarantees of the safety of its produce.