Cucumber sales plummet in Europe   2011-06-01 14:05:30 FeedbackRSS

BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Many people across Europe are refusing to buy cucumbers, following a wave of concern after the fruit was linked to an outbreak of e-coli.

Fear of contaminated cucumbers is spreading across Europe.

Many people in Paris are wary of buying cucumbers, even though the French government has reported only a handful of suspected cases.

Victor Miranda, grocer in Paris, said, "The sale of cucumbers has stopped for the past four days. No one is buying any. Even if the cucumbers are from France and not from Spain, nobody wants to eat them."

In Italy, shoppers are scrutinizing the cucumbers to see where they came from.

The country's health minister says he could not exclude the possibility that the outbreak could spread to Italy.

Ferruccio Fazio, Italian Health Minister, said, "Up to now, we have seized 16-hundred kilograms of fruit, particularly cucumbers, imported from Spain. We are going to carry out verification checks in laboratories."

In Austria, supermarkets have removed all Spanish-grown vegetables from sale, replacing them with produce from Germany and Italy.

Sales are down, but the Ministry of Health claims Austrian customers are safe.

Dr. Pamela Rendi-Wagner, Austrian Health Ministry, said, "What we have observed so far are to imported EHEC-cases from Germany. They have been diagnosed last week, but they are fine, they have been released. They have not developed any complications so far."

Dutch farmers warn they are suffering a collapse of cucumber exports to Germany, their key market.

Koos De Vries, cucumber grower, said, "This is something we have no influence over. It's already difficult in this sector and now we can't sell our products at all. From a business point of view, it's a catastrophe for us."

In Germany,the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is still warning consumers to avoid all cucumbers, lettuces and raw tomatoes, as the outbreak is investigated.

Russia's chief sanitary agency has banned the imports of cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh salad from Spain and Germany pending further notice.

Russian consumers are still buying cucumbers from other countries. But the government warned it could ban imports of fresh vegetables from all EU member states.


Special report: Europe on alert over tainted cucumber scare

Editor: Lu Hui
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