EU ups E.coli compensation to veg farmers to 227 mln euros

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The European Union on Thursday upped from 210 million to 227 million euros the lump compensation for European vegetable farmers hit by the fallout of E.coli outbreaks in Germany and France.

"This will allow the Commission to pay 100 percent of the demands for compensation from the different member states," the EU executive said in a statement.

The emergency aid is destined to producers of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, courgettes and sweet peppers, withdrawn from the market between late May and the end of June as a result of the disease, in which 50 people died in Germany and one in Sweden.

Among countries hardest hit, Spain will receive 70.97 million euros, Poland 46 million, Italy 34.6 million, the Netherlands 27.18 million, Germany 16 million and Portugal five million.

The outbreak of the virulent strain of enterohaemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC) was first attributed to Spanish cucumbers and consumers also advised to avoid tomatoes and lettuce, causing a tumble in fresh vegetable sales and slicing farmers' profits.

© 2011 AFP

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