SPANISH farmers could see millions in compensation after it has been confirmed the cause of the deadly E.coli outbreak was most likely German bean sprouts and not Spanish cucumbers.
The aggressive strain of the E coli bacterium – that has so far killed 22 people and left more than 2,200 ill – has been traced to a farm in the Uelzen district, south of Hamburg.
State agriculture minister, Gert Lindemann, told a news conference there appeared to be clear links between vegetables from the farm and food eaten by some victims.
“This is for us the most plausible cause of the illness,” he said.
Now pressure is set to increase on German officials who initially blamed the outbreak on Spanish cucumbers.
The Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has already said he will demand compensation for economic losses after many Spanish farms were forced to stop selling their products.
And German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to consider EU compensation for Spain.
The German leader told Zapatero she regretted the damage suffered to Spain’s producers but added she believed Hamburg had acted legally.
A meeting of EU farm ministers is now scheduled to take place on June 17, to discuss possible assistance to Europe’s fruit and vegetable farmers.