German vegetable exports to Netherlands at standstill

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German vegetable exports to the Netherlands have all but stopped in the wake of an E. coli contamination thought to have killed 12 people in Germany, a minister said Monday.

"Since Sunday, exports to the Netherlands have virtually stopped as a result of the food intoxication and worries by the population," said Dutch agriculture minister Henk Bleker.

This represented 10 million euros (14.2 million dollars) in weekly business.

Speaking on the sidelines of a European Union ministerial meeting in Hungary, he said he understood Germany's decision to dissuade consumers from buying vegetables.

German authorities warned against eating raw vegetables after traces of the bacteria were found on organic cucumbers from Spain last week.

Several hundred people are being treated in German hospitals for enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) which can result in full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a disease that causes bloody diarrhoea and serious liver damage and which can result in death.

© 2011 AFP

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