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Dutch find different E. coli, pull beet sprouts

Dutch authorities recalled red beet sprouts from three countries Thursday after samples were found to be contaminated with a strain of E. coli bacteria that was apparently less dangerous than the one causing Europe's deadly E. coli crisis.

The Dutch Food Safety Authority said laboratories were still trying to identify the Dutch strain, but there have been no immediate reports of serious illness from it.

But the agency said it was definitely not the same E. coli strain that has killed 27 people, sickened 2,900 others and left hundreds with serious complications, most of them in Germany. The cause of that outbreak, which began May 2, has so far eluded German authorities.

Only one grower, a company called Hamu, was found with contaminated beets, and other produce grown on its farms were cleared of suspicion, said Esther Filon, a spokeswoman for the Dutch regulation agency.

"It's not the same as in Germany. You can become ill, but as far as we know at this moment, it is not lethal," she told the Associated Press.

She said the authorities were trying to trace all shipments from the grower.

The agency said Hamu, based in the town of Kerkdriel 44 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Amsterdam, had exported beet sprouts to Belgium as well as selling them on the Dutch and German markets.
 
 

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