By VANESSA ALLEN
Mutant strain: The new form of E.coli is responsible for 19 deaths and carries genes that make it resistant to many common antibiotics. It also produced toxins that can cause kidney failure
More than 1,800 ill as outbreak spreads across EU
WHO says E.coli bug is 'super-toxic' mutant strain
E.coli cases in 10 European countries and the U.S.
British supermarkets have been urged to take German produce off their shelves halt the spread of the deadly mutant E.coli outbreak.
One of Britain's leading microbiologists made the warning as UK retailers continued to import vegetables from Germany - despite concerns that contaminated produce is spreading the toxic bacteria.
In a revelation that will shock consumers, Tesco and Lidl confirmed that they were still stocking 'small quantities' of German-sourced produce in their branches.
Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, said supermarkets should take a 'safety first' approach and remove German produce from their shelves.
He told the Daily Telegraph: 'This is a very dangerous bug because a surprisingly large proportion of the people who have been infected have gone on to develop nasty complications.'
The warning came as health officials warned the E.Coli outbreak could continue for months.
Hundreds have been infected by the epidemic in the last few days, including four new cases in Britain.
The source: Scientists are working to pinpoint the cause but believe salad vegetables may have been contaminated with manure
The latest victims mean 11 in the UK have been diagnosed with the infection, including four Germans. Three remain in intensive care after developing a potentially lethal form of the infection.
The Health Protection Agency said all the UK cases were in England and were related to recent travel to Germany, where the infection has struck at least 1,733.
So far there have been no cases of the bug spreading through person-to-person contact.
Scientists have yet to find the source of the epidemic, which has killed at least 19 and struck down more than 1,800 in the last three weeks.
Some supermarkets in Britain have reported a small drop in sales of salad, despite the recent hot weather.
Tesco said it stocked ‘small quantities’ of cauliflower from Germany in its stores, but insisted its suppliers observed strict hygiene standards.
The National Farmers Union has voiced fears that British supermarkets could be flooded with ‘cheap, unwanted cucumbers from within the EU’.
Some airlines have dropped salads from their inflight meals to avoid the risk of infecting passengers.