A European aid package for fruit and vegetable traders suffering from lost sales because of the deadly E. coli crisis has been increased to 210 million euros. An earlier proposal by the European Commission was criticised as inadequate.
The agriculture commissioner announced the funds will apply to the period from 26 May to the end of June. Dacian Ciolos said: “A situation such as this must not impose suffering unjustly on entire sectors, such as vegetables. Speed in getting help to the producers is a priority. That’s what the Commission has been preparing over the past few days.”
Spanish farmers are not the only ones who can not sell what they have harvested. They have been giving it a way in Madrid. German authorities initially said the E. coli outbreak came from Spanish produce, but they have since backtracked. But the Spanish say they have been hit the worst, economically.
Jose Angel Aguilar, with the Consumers Association, said: “We demand that the European authorities be more disciplined when they put out health alerts. You can’t play around with people’s trust in their food. A local authority in whatever part of Europe can’t be allowed to condemn a product as a knee-jerk reaction. These messages directly affect citizens’ confidence and security.”
German officials are still looking for the E. coli source. Estimates of growers’ losses since the crisis blew up on May 2 are 210 million euros per week in Spain alone.