E. coli scare shuts two Spanish cucumber distributors: EU

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain suspended the activities of two cucumber distributors suspected of exporting products tainted with a bacteria that has made 270 people in Germany ill, the European Commission said Friday.

A probe was launched and samples were taken from the soil, water and products from two agricultural sites in the southern provinces of Almeria and Malaga, the European Union's executive arm said.

"Investigations are ongoing to identify other potential sources, while a third suspect batch of cucumbers originating either in the Netherlands or in Denmark, and traded in Germany, is also under investigation," it said.

A suspect consignment of Spanish cucumbers was distributed to Denmark, but authorities there traced the vegetables and withdrew them from the market, the statement said.

The Danish authorities "have also reassured the commission that no cucumbers from these consignments have been traded further to other (EU) member states," it said.

Germany's national disease centre said more than 60 new cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) had been reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number in Germany to 276. At least two people have died.

The potentially fatal HUS is caused by enterohaemorrhagic E. coli.

Sweden has reported 25 E. coli cases, with 10 of those people developing HUS, the commission said. Denmark reported seven E. coli cases (including three HUS) while Britain counted three cases (two HUS).

The Netherlands had one HUS case and Austria reported two cases of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli.

© 2011 AFP

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