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France halts sales of 3 seeds after E. coli cases


PARIS » France has halted the sale of three types of seeds linked to a British company after an E. coli outbreak caused the hospitalization of eight people, officials said.

Test results on two of the eight people hospitalized show an infection of the same strain of E. coli that killed 44 people — all but one in Germany — and sickened more than 3,700, French health officials said.

Commerce Minister Frederic Lefevre said late Friday the order involves fenugreek, mustard and arugula seeds linked to a British seed and plant vendor, Thompson & Morgan. The company, which did not immediately return an email and a call seeking comment, is among Britain’s biggest mail order seed and plant companies, supplying garden centers throughout Europe.

An investigation by France’s competition, consumption and fraud prevention agency found two of the eight people hospitalized had consumed sprouts from the three seeds at a school fair in the southwestern town of Begles.

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