Almost all of Europe has stopped buying Spanish fruit and vegetables, worsening the country’s economic crisis according to its export federation.
It follows the E. coli outbreak in Germany linked with organic cucumbers from Andalusia. The region has lost up to eight million euros a day over the last week. But its agriculture officials want everyone to know they think their stuff is good to eat.
“We can’t just ring alarm bells without having reliable facts, and I insist we don’t have them, neither does Germany, nor the European Union,” said Clara Aguilera, Andalusia’s Agriculture Minister.
A total of 15 people are now known to have died including a Swedish woman who recently visited Germany. Hundreds of other people have been taken ill.
The E. coli pathogen has been identified on cucumbers imported from Spain, but it is not clear if they were contaminated there, during transport, or possibly in Germany.
The pathogen identified affects the blood, kidneys and in severe cases, the nervous system, and can be particularly serious for children and the elderly.