Spain and Germany Fight Over Origin of New E. Coli strain: Cucumbers suspect
On Friday, Germany’s massive outbreak of E. coli showed no signs of diminishing in one of the worst spreads of the poisonous bacteria ever experienced by a country. At least 1,500 people have been infected — most in the northern German port city of Hamburg. In the media on Friday, however, considerable attention is focused on tensions simmering between Madrid and Berlin following an erroneous warning last week that the infections may have been caused by cucumbers from Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said that he will demand compensation for vegetable growers after a German warning that cucumbers from the country were the cause of the E. coli outbreak proved to be false. Many farmers had to destroy their crops after consumer confidence in their produce collapsed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Zapatero on the phone on Thursday to try and resolve what was fast becoming an international incident, and both sides agreed that the priority was to identify the source of the outbreak,