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Brussels, 1 June 2011

Efforts intensify to identify source of E. coli outbreak in Germany as final tests clear Spanish cucumbers

Today, the latest results of the tests on cucumber samples, carried out by the competent authorities of both Germany and Spain, showed that the Spanish vegetable is not responsible for the Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) outbreak affecting Germany and other Member States.

The German competent authorities officially informed the European Commission this afternoon that they have concluded all tests on the samples they collected. Despite the fact that some of the sampled cucumbers did test positive to STEC, the tests did not confirm the presence of the specific serotype (O104), which is responsible for the outbreak affecting humans.

Similar tests carried out by the Spanish authorities on cucumber samples they collected have also rendered negative results.

After this development, the European Commission has removed the alert notification on Spanish cucumbers from the Rapid Alert System on Food and Feed.

Investigations are still ongoing to identify the potential source of contamination. In a press conference this morning, Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli stressed: "I urge the Member States and in particular Germany to increase their efforts in that direction. We stand next to them and we will do our outmost to assist in any possible way."

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