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Oz brushes aside possibility of E coli outbreak

Melbourne: Australian apex vegetable group today said that the E coli outbreak which has killed 22 people in Europe is unlikely to hit Down Under.

William Churchill from Ausveg said Australia does not import beansprouts and other vegetables from Europe and consumers should be reassured, ABC online reported.

"In Australia we`ve got some of the highest quality reassurance programmes, [the] most stringent programmes you`ll see around the entire planet," he said.

"E coli breakouts in this country are extremely rare and the sort of illness as we`ve seen in Europe, cases of deaths as well, just won`t happen in this country.

"The Federal Health Department said it has asked GPs to be on the alert for cases of infections related to the outbreak in Europe.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said Australians travelling to Europe for the northern summer should make sure they know about local warnings for E coli bacteria.

AMA president Dr Steve Hamilton said E coli is a waterborne bacteria and particular care should be taken with how some vegetables are prepared. "Thankfully it seems that it`s only northern Germany at the moment.

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