EU offers 150 million euros to farmers hit by killer E. coli

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The European Commission said Tuesday it will ask EU states to release 150 million euros in aid to European vegetable producers whose sales have been decimated by a deadly bacteria outbreak.

"I will propose 150 million euros today," European agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos told reporters ahead of an emergency meeting of EU farm ministers in Luxembourg.

The compensation will cover the period from the start of the crisis in late May to late June, he said, adding that the figure could change depending on the losses calculated by different European Union members.

Ciolos added that it was crucial for authorities in Germany, the epicentre of the crisis, to find the source of the outbreak of deadly E. coli that has killed 23 people.

"I hope that the authorities will be able to give an answer on the source of the infection as quickly as possible," he said.

"Without this answer, it will be difficult to regain the trust of consumers, which is essential for the market to regain its strength," the commissioner said.

© 2011 AFP

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