Spain to seek damages over cucumber slur: Zapatero

2nd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain will seek compensation after a deadly bacteria outbreak in Germany was wrongly blamed on Spanish cucumbers, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday.

"Yesterday, it became clear, with the analyses carried out by the Spanish agency for food safety, that there is not the slightest indication that the origin of the serious infection is any Spanish product," he said in an interview with Spanish national radio.

"Therefore, I would have liked a clearer reaction from the (European) Commission...

"Now we have a very ambitious task ahead of us, which is to recover our good reputation as soon as possible and the trade in all Spanish products."

Spain will also "seek reparations before the relevant authorities in Europe for the harm sustained," he said.

The European Commission late Wednesday lifted its warning to consumers over Spanish cucumbers that had been suspected of causing the outbreak of E.coli that has killed at least 17 people.

It said tests carried out on cucumbers in Germany and in Spain "did not confirm the presence of the specific serotype (O104), which is responsible for the outbreak affecting humans."

"After this development, the European Commission has removed the alert notification on Spanish cucumbers from the Rapid Alert System on Food and Feed," it said in a statement.

Spain's fruit and vegetable exporters estimate they have lost more than 200 million euros ($290 million) a week as 150,000 tonnes of produce went unsold in a Europe-wide reaction to the outbreak of E.coli that has killed 16 people in Germany and one in Sweden.

© 2011 AFP

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