EHEC: all-clear for vegetables
The EHEC warning about cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce has finally been lifted. Dealer demand for healthy vegetables is increasingly recovering. While some continue to eye the vegetables critically, more and more people are grabbing them. Klaus Dahmke from the Schleswig-Holstein farmers' association was relieved: "Vegetables are finally in demand again". Demand has recovered slightly since the weekend.
After the evidence that sprouts are responsible for the spread of the dangerous EHEC bacterium, the official warning against vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce was lifted. According to the German Farmers' Association (DBV), after the all-clear there is a slight relaxation in the fruit and vegetable market. Since the warning was lifted on Pentecost weekend, the sales market could no longer be boosted. But still: Many consumers stock up on healthy vegetables. Many German families finally had the long-awaited cucumber salad again.
Farmers demand compensation for slumped sales The farmers' association has now asked the federal government to provide quick and unbureaucratic help for the damaged farmers. After all, the factories had "got into the biggest sales catastrophe since Chernobyl through no fault of their own". According to the association, sales had dropped by 50 percent overall. The sale of cucumbers, tomatoes and salads had almost completely ceased for a good 14 days. Neither retailers nor consumers consumed the vegetables, even if extensive samples excluded the EHEC pathogen.
According to the farmers' representatives, the compensation payments negotiated in Brussels were far too low. The association spokesman called for a significant increase in aid from the EU and the federal government. If the payments were too low, this could mean a quick end for many producers. Only if sufficient funds are made available could vegetable producers continue to assert themselves on the market. Small and medium-sized companies in particular suffered greatly from the EHEC warning. Therefore, the black-yellow coalition must take measures to strengthen the vegetable market.
The farmers' association emphasized that it was imperative to regain the trust of the citizens. For this reason, around 2,000 incremental samples were arranged to prove that the harvested vegetables were not contaminated with EHEC. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, 35 people have died as a result of the infectious disease. The rate of new infections has been falling for a few days. Nevertheless, people should pay attention to special hygiene measures such as intensive hand washing and adequate cleaning of the kitchen utensils, as the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin emphasizes. (sb)
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