Spain will seek compensation for E. coli accusations

by Jorge Hernandez on June 7, 2011

An E. coli outbreak in Europe has claimed 22 lives and thousands of illnesses, but Spain will not take the blame for it. Spanish officials have indicated that the country will seek redress and compensation over statements that Germany and the European Commission issued, which pointed blame at Spain's export of cucumbers, according to a new report from CNN. Spanish farmers are facing significant losses due to the accusatory statements.

"Spain will also ask for compensation for the serious and irreversible economical damages. And we will also ask the Europe Commission to strengthen and improve the mechanisms of the food warning system of the European Union," Leire Pajin Iraola, Spanish Health Minister, told NTDTV News.

The Spanish environment and rural affairs minister Rosa Aguilar echoed the sentiment and defended farmers in the country.

"We will not accept any loss whatsoever for our producers, because they are not in any way to blame for this," Aguilar, told CNN. Aguilar said that the redress demands would be made in Luxembourg at a European Union meeting.

In terms of the economic losses stemming from the outbreak, a European Commission spokesperson said that they were seeking an EU-wide solution.

"There has been a drop in consumption around Europe and it is important that we find a European solution to what is an EU-wide problem at the moment, to support fruit and vegetable growers across the EU," said the spokesman.

The Daily Mail reports that cases of E.coli illnesses have been reported in the United States, in Virginia and Tennessee.

Although the E.coli strains in Tennessee seem to be of a less virulent form, "authorities have instructed people to thoroughly cook their meat, wash raw fruits and vegetables, and avoid swimming in places like rivers and lakes that could have access to agricultural run-off," reported the Daily Mail.

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