A fresh Dutch harvest of 30,000 cucumbers today is destined for the rubbish bin. Europe’s deadly E. coli outbreak has producers facing ruin. Their market has disappeared, but the source of the contamination remains a mystery.
The European Commissioner for agriculture said: “I understand that EU national authorities or those elsewhere are concerned about protecting consumers, and are taking measures to ensure that. But I also say that we must keep these measures in proportion, and to do that we must isolate the problem.”
Spain and The Netherlands have said they will ask for EU support. Their German export market has simply crashed in the face of the still serious E. coli health threat linked to people eating raw vegetables.
Dutch farmer Koot De Vries said: “They have to investigate where this infection is coming from. That’s the only solution. We want to prove that our products are clean, but until he knows where the infection is coming from the German consumer won’t believe us.”
Producers in southern Spain have reportedly been losing 7-8 million euros per day since German authorities linked the bacteria to Spanish cucumbers last week, though Berlin has admitted to uncertainty about the pathogen’s source.
Other countries also have strict warnings out. For instance, Austria’s food safety agency ordered a recall from stores of organically grown cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplant supplied by a Spanish producer.
Madrid is facing an agricultural emergency.