Dutch find different E. coli on beet sprouts

By STAFF | June 9, 2011 | 7:43 AM EDT

A woman carries away a box of free vegetables in Madrid Wednesday June 8, 2011. One of Spain's two leading farmers association, COAG, handed out 40 tons of fruit and vegetables to draw attention to their plight and plug the quality of Spanish produce. People lined up for nearly a 100 meters (yards) on either side of dozens of tables covered with a wide and colorful variety of produce, including cherry tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and watermelons.Francisco Gil, head of the COAG chapter in the southeastern Murcia region, blasted the EU for offering euros150 million in aid in to European farmers, saying the bloc first had to help Germany find the source of the bacteria and then stage a massive public relations campaign to restore consumer confidence in European produce. (AP Photo/Paul White)

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Authorities say they have halted sales of beet sprouts from a Dutch grower after some were found to be contaminated with a strain of E. coli bacteria that is different from the one causing Europe's deadly E. coli crisis.

The Dutch Food Safety Authority said the European Union informed it late Wednesday that illness-causing Dutch vegetables had been found in Germany. It said beet sprout samples inspected in the Netherlands also confirmed instances of E. coli contamination.

But the agency said it was not the same E. coli strain that has killed 27 people, sickened 2,900 others and left hundreds with serious omplications, most of them in Germany.

The name of the producer was not released.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's national disease control center says another person has died in the European E. coli outbreak and 160 more people have been reported ill, but that the rate of new sicknesses is continuing to decline.

The Robert Koch Institute said Thursday that 2,808 people, 722 of whom are suffering from a serious complication that can cause kidney failure, have now been reported sickened in Germany, the country at the epicenter of the E. coli outbreak whose origin has not yet been found.

The World Health Organization says 97 others have fallen sick in 12 other European countries, as well as three in the United States.

A total of 27 people have died — 26 in Germany and one in Sweden.

Though the number of those sickened is still rising, the Koch institute says the new cases being reported have been dropping for several days.