Growers fear for lettuce tomatoes and paprikas
The export of Dutch cucumbers to Germany has collapsed as a result of a contamination with the Escherichia coli bacteria which has claimed 10 lives so far. A spokesperson for the Dutch sector organisation for market gardeners says is trying to gauge the effect on the sector as a whole, including exports of lettuce, paprikas and tomatoes.
“Because the German minister has urged people not to eat salad vegetables until there is clarity and the majority of German consumers are following his advice." Once the impact on sales and prices has been assessed, a call for government support is considered likely.
The Netherlands is one of the world’s main production areas of cucumbers, with an annual production of about 1.6 billion, about half of which are exported to Germany.
The agriculture ministry, the sector organisation and the Dutch Food Retail Association CBL will meet later on Monday for emergency talks on the E. coli outbreak. A CBL spokesperson said it was vital to obtain clarity about the source of the contamination as soon as possible. “But it is also of great importance to find out how the contamination occurred. At the moment, food safety is our main priority.”
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