A Spanish official bristled Wednesday at accusations that Spain was the cause of a deadly E. coli outbreak that has swept across Germany and Sweden.
Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said, in a SER radio interview, that Spain will not rule out "taking action against the authorities (in Germany) who questioned the quality of our products."
Last week, German officials implied Spanish cucumbers were the cause for the illness that had sickened people. Rubalcaba responded forcefully to that accusation.
"If it was from the cucumbers, there would be cases (of illness) in Spain," Rubalcaba said, adding that there haven't been. "The Hamburg (Germany) authorities don't know where it comes from. I understand they have a problem. We have said, 'You need to say it wasn't us.'"
While authorities in Germany worked to contain and respond to the outbreak, the specific cause remained unclear.
The European Food Safety Alert Network said EHEC, or enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, a strain of E. coli that causes hemorrhage in the intestines, was found in organic cucumbers originating from Spain, packaged in Germany, and distributed to countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Spain.
But the source has not yet been pinpointed, authorities said.FULL STORY