By Marcus Leach

The outbreak of deadly E. coli that has hit Europe has, according to research released in Germany, been heavily linked with locally grown bean sprouts.

"It's the bean sprouts," said Reinhard Burger, head of Germany's centre for disease control.

"People who ate sprouts were nine times more likely to have bloody diarrhoea than those who did not."

Originally it had been blamed on imported cucumbers, having seen the disease kill 29 people. Whilst the source now seems to be clear Mr Burger warned that the outbreak was not over yet.

EU vegetable growers had been in crisis, with Spanish cucumber growers initially blamed for the contamination.

Mr Burger told reporters that even though none of the tests on the bean sprouts had come back positive the epidemiological investigation of the pattern of the outbreak had produced enough evidence to draw the conclusion.

He also confirmed that they were lifting the warning against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce, but keeping it in place for the sprouts.

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