• France's news in English

UK sprouts firm rejects French E.coli claims

AFP/The Local · 27 Jun 2011, 10:02

Published: 27 Jun 2011 10:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A British company has distanced itself from a French minister's claims that sprouts ordered from the firm were to blame for a recent E.coli outbreak in France.

But Ipswich-based Thompson & Morgan said it was co-operating with the investigation into the matter.

"Thompson & Morgan is aware of reports regarding an outbreak of E.coli infection affecting a small number of adults in France," it said in a statement Saturday.

"The company is also aware that an unsubstantiated link has been made between the outbreak and the consumption of sprouting seeds," added the group, which is based Ipswich, eastern England.

Frederic Lefebvre, French secretary of state for consumer affairs, on Friday linked seed sprouts sold by the company to 10 suspected cases of E.coli poisoning around the region of Bordeaux, southwestern France.

Most of those affected were hospitalised, suffering from bloody diarrhea.

Health authorities in France said that at least six of the 10 people hit there by E.coli were found to have eaten sprouts at a fete.

Lefebvre said the sprouts had been purchased at a Jardiland garden centre in France after having been grown from Thompson & Morgan seeds.

He stressed that a link between the symptoms and the consumption of the sprouts had not been definitively established.

But he called for the company's mustard and rocket seed sprouts to be withdrawn from sale as a precautionary while tests were carried out.

Thompson & Morgan argued in its statement that "something local in the Bordeaux area or the way the product has been handled and grown, is responsible for the incident," rather than its seeds.

It added: "The health and safety of the public is always of paramount concern to Thompson & Morgan and we will continue to fully co-operate with all investigations."

Britain's Food Standards Agency meanwhile reported no E.coli poisoning cases of its own.

"We have asked for further information from the French authorities... to help us carry out investigations in the UK," it added.

Meanwhile, European governments are investigating the suspected E. coli poisoning in France for links to the killer outbreak in Germany, according to the European Commission.

"No formal European alert has been launched at this point, one that would mean a ban on sales" of the products concerned, a spokesman for health commissioner John Dalli said on Saturday.

However, "there is an exchange of information under way between France, Britain and Germany" after 10 people were infected near Bordeaux, south-western France.

Health authorities there said tests had shown two out of seven patients hospitalised were infected by the same strain of the disease as that found recently in Germany, which has killed 43 people in Europe.

Story continues below…

This latest incident came in the wake of a recent outbreak of a strain of E.coli bacteria in Germany has killed at least 43 people.

Health officials there have blamed organic vegetable sprouts grown in northern Germany.

French health officials have said tests showed two people were infected by the same potentially deadly strain of E.coli as that found recently in Germany.

But they have not said whether there was a link between the two outbreaks.


AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available