Thousands of tonnes in Dutch veggies lost over EHEC

16th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch growers have taken some 30,000 tonnes of vegetables off the market since the killer EHEC bacterial outbreak, an interest group representing its commercial growers industry said Thursday.

"About 30,000 tonnes in total were destroyed, turned into compost, or used as animal feed," said Stephan ten Bosch, a spokesman for the organisation Productschap Tuinbouw (PT) told AFP.

"This is simply due to the fact that the demand diminished because of the general scare over the EHEC bacteria," he said.

Dutch vegetable farmers saw export markets crash, especially to its main business partner Germany, following the outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli there last month, which has killed 39 and put some 3,300 others in hospital.

Some 13,000 tonnes of cucumbers, 13,000 tonnes of tomatoes and 700 tonnes of peppers were among the vegetables destroyed, Productschap Tuinbouw said.

More than 150 million euros (212 million dollars) were lost in revenue since the outbreak started, it added.

Germany's national health centre, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) Thursday confirmed the death toll in the outbreak had risen to 38, in addition to a woman in Sweden who is believed to have been infected during a visit to Germany days before she died.

German authorities on Friday identified locally grown vegetable sprouts as the source of the outbreak and lifted a warning against eating raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce.

© 2011 AFP

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