Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Germany backtracks on cucumber crisis: Spanish vegetable growers lost €6million a day

"Who pays for these now?"
(Agencies) Germany on Tuesday did a U-turn from an earlier claim that Spanish cucumbers were responsible for the outbreak of the E. coli bacterial infection that has now taken the lives of 16 people and left hundreds sick. Two of three cucumbers of Spanish origin analyzed by health officials in Hamburg in Germany were ruled out as the source of the outbreak. The results of the tests on the third cucumber were not immediately made available. "Germany recognizes that the Spanish cucumbers are not the cause," Germany's secretary of state for agriculture, Robert Kloos, said on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union farm ministers in Hungary. Spain's environment minister, Rosa Aguilar, said Madrid would be seeking compensation from the EU for estimated losses of 200 million euros a week suffered by its farmers as a number of countries in Europe barred imports of Spanish vegetables.>
"Germany accused Spain of being responsible for the E. coli contamination, and it did so with no proof, causing irreparable damage to the Spanish production sector," Aguilar said.
The European commissioner for agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, said "clear results" were needed about the source of the contamination. "It's important that we should produce the results of the ongoing analysis as soon as possible," he told a news conference in Brussels. "We have to remain circumspect and not come out with suppositions without any proper basis."
Swedish authorities on Tuesday said that a 50-year-old woman in that country had died from the infection. A further 15 have died in Germany.

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