Spain defends produce safety as E. coli outbreak spreads in Germany
A farm worker throws away cucumbers, which have been pinpointed as one source of the outbreak.
June 1st, 2011
09:27 AM ET

Spain defends produce safety as E. coli outbreak spreads in Germany

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."

How serious is Germany's E. coli outbreak?

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.

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Filed under: E. coli
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. countryboy

    Just how well does there FDA operate? http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Well...this one time I did find a grown mouse in m'a beer bottle...

      June 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    Now if it were tainted cheezeburgers there might be cause for alarm.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Not teh cheezeburgers! Nooooooooooo!

      June 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. U-Turn

    NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rumncokes

    what a waste of food, africa is starving and here we are throwing out food. Shaking my head

    June 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Feed them and they will learn nothing. All they will do is beg for more. I say give em a shovel, rake, watering can and some seeds. Then beat them till they learn to farm. 😛

      June 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    @U Turn...I say we publicly hang corporate executives who bribe African politicians into allowing access to the peoples natural resources. The people starve as their precious resources are sold to peoples who struggle with obesity. Much more would be accomplished by this than handing them a shovel/teach how use.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      Well said my dear. Keep the good fight of bringing us knowledge so that all will see and not be able to claim ignorance. yes well said my BROTHERAAAAA . He He 🙂

      June 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Germany

    Spain is a dirty country.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gorilla #15 Eating unwashed food

    Considering how much food is produced and consumed, I'm surprised this sort of thing isn't a lot more common.

    And remember the old saying – whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Canadian Genius

    I remember a few years ago, Canada was on one side, then later the other, of the Mad Cow issue.

    We first found tainted beef from Brazil and banned beef imports from Brazil for a while. Then one Alberta cow tested positive, and several countries banned Canadian beef for a while. I observed that the most effective way to offend a country is to tell them that their food is dirty. It's apparently a bigger insult than anything political, cultural, or religious.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    Not to mention asbestos. It's from Canada too.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harv Weinstein


    June 2, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andre

    It is irresponsible how politicians deal with the economic consequences and the Spanish government adds drama. Let health organisations issue their warning without any political interference. The government is not responsable here in any way

    June 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |