It’s official.

The outbreak strain of E. coli O157 that sent eight children to hospital suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) earlier this month has been found in a sample of “Steak Country chez Lidl” frozen hamburger patties. The contaminated hamburger carried a Best If Used By date of 11 mai 2012 (May 11, 2012) – one of the three production dates recalled by La société SEB, the manufacturer.

The contaminated sample was retrieved from a patient’s house during the course of the epidemiological investigation into the outbreak, according to information released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nutrition and Fisheries.

Investigators are working to determine the origin of the contamination, to trace the distribution of the recalled meat, and to monitor the effectiveness of the recall. Italy’s Ministry of Health reported this morning that no E. coli was found in eight samples of Steak Country products seized from a Lidl distribution center in Arcole (Verona Province).

Of the eight children who were hospitalized at the CHU de Lille due to HUS, six are still in hospital – one in a coma. All are expected to survive.