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Russia Bans Vegetables Seeds From Egypt Over E. Coli Fears

An Egyptian spice dealer displays fenugreek seeds at his shop in Cairo, Egypt, June 30, 2011

Russia has banned vegetable seeds and sprouts from Egypt over fears of E. Coli contamination.

Russia's sanitary watchdog agency said Wednesday it reached the decision after experts from the European Commission said the E.Coli bacteria that hit Europe earlier this year began in the north Africa country.

The RIA Novosti news agency says Egypt has denied being a source of the E. Coli outbreak.

The ban affects seeds and sprouts of beans, including beets.

The European Commission also banned the importing of seeds from Egypt on Wednesday.

The agency's ban runs through October.

The E. Coli outbreak in Europe during May and June killed at least 48 people and sickened more than 3,000 others across 16 countries.

In recent weeks, the E. Coli outbreak had been largely blamed on organic vegetable sprouts from northern Germany.

In early June, Russia imposed a 26 day ban on vegetables from the Netherlands and Belgium.

Russia lifted the ban after reaching an agreement with the European Union that the vegetable shipments must be safe.