BERLIN -- Consumers were awaiting the release of official test results Monday that will most likely confirm that vegetable sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany caused the terrifying E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200.
Even if sprouts from the farm in the greater Uelzen region, between Hamburg and Hannover, are confirmed as the only source of the bacterial epidemic, more cases of the illness are likely for at least another week, authorities said. That's because the contaminated sprouts may have already been delivered to restaurants and grocery stores across the country and could infect consumers.
Health officials warned against eating any sprouts and kept up a general warning for tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuces.
"While we have strong and clear indications that a farm in Uelzen is involved (in the E.coli outbreak), we have to wait for the official lab results," German Health Minister Daniel Bahr said late Sunday. "Until then, we cannot give an all-clear."
The European Union will hold an emergency meeting on the contaminated food crisis and its economic impact on Tuesday, an EU spokesman said.