EU bans Egypt seed imports after E. coli outbreak

BRUSSELS–The European Union says it is temporarily banning the import of certain seeds from Egypt after some were linked to a deadly outbreak of the E. coli in Germany and France.

The EU said Tuesday member states also have to ensure that all "seeds imported from one Egyptian exporter between 2009 and 2011 are withdrawn from the market, sampled and destroyed."

The bloc's Safety Authority said earlier Tuesday that the fenugreek seeds blamed for the recent outbreak are still on the market and were shipped to more countries than was previously believed, including Austria, Britain and Spain.

Fenugreek is a clover-shaped plant whose leaves are commonly used as an herb and in Indian curries. If the seeds are contaminated with E. coli, the bacteria can survive for years.

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