Spain mulls action over blame for E.coli outbreak

MADRID Mon May 30, 2011 1:38pm EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain said on Monday it was mulling taking action over Spanish cucumbers being blamed for an outbreak of E.coli bacteria which has killed 10 and sickened 300 in Germany.

Horticultural farms in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia have been losing 7-8 million euros a day since last week's outbreak, according to media reports.

On Thursday Spain said the European Commission's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed had said two companies from southern Spain may be involved in the outbreak.

The Health Ministry added that while it had had removed all suspect cucumbers from sale, there were no associated cases in Spain and it could not be concluded the outbreak stemmed from any handling of the produce.

"There is no proof of this and so we will demand explanations from who has attributed this matter to Spain," Diego Lopez Garrido, Secretary of State for the European Union, told journalists.

The Andalusian regional government is due to have results on Thursday of tests conducted in the soil and produce from 13 greenhouses where contaminated cucumbers had been grown, in the province of Almeria.

"I don't know why every one finds it so attractive to take it out on Spain, on Andalusia and, above all, Almeria," Andalusia's Agricultural Minister Clara Aguilera told journalists.

European health experts on Saturday said the outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which affects the blood, kidneys and, in severe cases, the nervous system, was the largest ever in Germany and the biggest of its kind worldwide.

(Reporting by Iciar Reinlein; writing by Martin Roberts)

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Comments (4)
Knightly wrote:
Yeah, that’s right, Spain, it’s all racism. Not the fact that 14 people are dead. We were all just looking for an excuse to blame your cucumbers.

May 30, 2011 2:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Doliber wrote:
Racism? All involved are white Europeans. What are you thinking, Knightly?

May 30, 2011 3:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
quatra wrote:
In an area with countries that use questionable agricultural practices and controls like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc., but with virtually free traffic of goods to northern Europe, there should be an efficient tracking system (e.g. using RFID) in place from harvesting till point at origin of final sale at final destination so that every unit can be traced. Also paperwork should be available at all times.It makes thing a little bit more expensive but not comparable with national public health emergencies like we have at this very moment.

May 30, 2011 3:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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