EU angry over Russian vegetable ban, Spain wants compensation for cucumber slur
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the E coli bacteria that has caused 17 deaths in Germany and Sweden is a new strain. A Russian ban on European vegetables has enraged the European Union (EU) and Spain is demanding compensation for slurs about its cucumbers.
As Britain reported its first seven cases, the WHO declared that the Enterohaemorrhagic E coli strain has never been detected before.
Earlier Russia banned fresh European vegetable imports and said that all vegetables already imported would be seized. It banned imports from Germany and Spain on Monday.
The move prompted the European Commission to demand that Moscow explain a ban it described as “disproportionate”.
Tests in the north German port city of Hamburg, where several cases have been found, last week found dangerous bacteria on some Spanish cucumbers, subsequently found to be of a different strain.
"Yesterday, it became clear, with the analyses carried out by the Spanish agency for food safety, that there is not the slightest indication that the origin of the serious infection is any Spanish product," he said in an interview with Spanish national radio.
There should have been a “clearer reaction” from the European Commission, he claimed and Spain will "seek reparations before the relevant authorities in Europe for the harm sustained”.
The European Commission on Wednesday lifted its warning over Spanish cucumbers after saying it could "not confirm the presence of the specific serotype (O104), which is responsible for the outbreak affecting humans".