EU: E. coli outbreak: blame game delays common response
Posted: May 31st, 2011 - 7:30pm
Source: The Christian Science Monitor
E. coli investigations are under way in Germany, where 16 have died, as well as Spain and the EU Commission. Germany has targeted Spanish produce, but Spain says the supply chain could be a culprit.
Madrid -- European agriculture ministers were meeting Tuesday in Hungary about the spread of a mysterious deadly strain of E. Coli that has killed 16 people, mostly in northern Germany, and affected more than 1,000 throughout Europe. But a blame game over the origin of the contamination is threatening a common response.
Germany's Hamburg Institute for Hygiene and the Environment last week was the first to report that organic cucumbers grown in southern Spain, one of Europe’s biggest breadbaskets, were contaminated.
But Spain has reacted angrily, saying that there is no evidence that Spain is the source, even if the cucumbers originated there, because they could have been contaminated anywhere along the supply and handling chain.
Germany, Spain, and the EU Commission are all conducting separate investigations, but Spanish officials say Germany is taking too long to release results, adding to the uncertainty over the source of the contamination and thus hampering efforts to contain it.