Europe’s Cucumber Crisis Kills 14 People — Everyone Blames Spain


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Most of Europe is moving to block Spanish cucumber exports after a deadly outbreak of E. coli. two weeks ago killed at least 14 people in Germany, according to Bloomberg. 329 people in Germany are reported to have a severe form of the infection, that includes bloody diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Sweden had reported 30 cases; Denmark, 11; Austria 2; and Britain 3 so far, according to The New York Times.

Germany is looking to ban the sale of 15 – 20 million kilograms of vegetables and other agricultural products. Weekly losses from the export ban are expected to total €200 million. This will come as a massive short-term blow to the Spain economy that is already buckling under austerity measures.

Spanish environment minister Rosa Aguilar has said the country is looking for compensation for the losses caused by the E. coli infection crisis, according to Xinhua. Germany said it first detected the bacteria on organic cucumbers imported from Andalusia, but the Spanish government has rejected the blame. 

Meanwhile, cucumbers from distributors in Almeria and Malaga have temporarily been pulled out of the market as the country awaits the results of soil, water and produce tests.  For the moment, Austria, Denmark and Sweden have also banned Spanish agricultural products.

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