Now Sprouts Probably Not to Blame for E. Coli
German officials reverse course on outbreak cause
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2011 10:40 AM CDT
A woman holds bean sprouts with chopsticks in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, June 5, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

(Newser) – Okay, so maybe it's not the bean sprouts after all. German officials did a 180 today, stating that initial tests showed no evidence that sprouts from an organic farm are actually to blame for the deadly E. coli outbreak. Of 40 samples, 23 have so far tested negative for the "super-toxic" strain of bacteria that has killed 22 so far, the AP reports. The rest of the samples are still being tested.

Officials say more testing of both sprouts and seeds is needed, and just because these samples test negative doesn't mean previous batches weren't contaminated. "The search for the outbreak's cause is very difficult as several weeks have passed since its suspected start," the Lower-Saxony state agriculture ministry said in a statement, noting that no conclusion is expected "in the short term." Click for more on how Germany is coping sans vegetables.