Fruit, vegetable prices fall in Spain over wrong E.coli link

13:45, June 15, 2011      

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The prices of fruit and vegetables in Spain have dropped dramatically since the outbreak of the "cucumber crisis," the Spanish Environment Ministry has revealed.

The weekly report published by the ministry Monday shows that between May 30, when the crisis began, and June 5, the price of Spanish produce fell by an average of 42 percent due to the loss of confidence and "lack of activity" in the market.

Although bean sprouts in Germany have now been confirmed as the source of the E. coli outbreak, Spanish agricultural produce, ranging from cucumbers to tomatoes, peppers and fruit, has been hard hit by the German government initially, and wrongly, naming Spanish cucumbers as the cause.

Even produce which is clearly unrelated to cucumbers have seen their prices plummet. The price of peaches dropped by 42.7 percent, plums 35.4 percent, watermelon 41.54 percent and apricots 21.4 percent.

The European Union has designated 210 million euros (302 million U.S. dollars) to help alleviate the losses to the Spanish agricultural sector, a figure the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero considers insufficient when compared to losses it estimates at around 200 million euros (288 million dollars) a week since the start of the crisis.

Spain has not formally ruled out taking legal action against Germany.

Source: Xinhua
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