Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Killer Cucumbers: Germany Backtracks on E.Coli Outbreak as at least 16 People have Died - 31st May 2011

German authorities have said they do not know whether Spanish cucumbers have caused the outbreak of E.Coli which has killed at least 16 people.

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Hundreds more are ill from viruses linked to the contaminated vegetables.

Health officials say the number of deaths is expected to increase in the coming days as the virus spreads across Europe.

The apparent backtrack by Germany has come after Spain and the Netherlands demanded compensation for vegetable producers who have lost money as a result of concerns over their produce.

The Spanish agricultural minister said she estimated the loss of sales in Spain to reach "more than 200 million euros a week".

Earlier, she defended the country's cucumber crop by eating the fruit on TV.

Rosa Aguilar said it is still unclear exactly when and where the vegetables were contaminated.

She tucked in to some cucumbers grown in Spain in an attempt to show they can not be blamed for one of the largest E.coli outbreaks in the world.

"The image of Spain is being damaged, Spanish producers are being damaged and the Spanish government is not prepared to accept this situation," she said.

Last week, the European Commission identified organic cucumbers from two Spanish provinces as the origin of the outbreak.

It said a third suspect batch of the vegetable originating in the Netherlands and traded in Germany was also under investigation. Read More