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E.coli: IFOAM EU Group welcomes EU support but asks for EU wide coordination


On the occasion of the extraordinary meeting of the Agriculture Council the IFOAM EU Group (www.ifoam-eu.org) expresses its concern that weeks after the first outbreak of a new strain of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) a definite source has still not been identified. On the other hand the Group welcomes the fact that EU ministers have agreed in principle to compensate vegetable producers that have suffered serious losses as a consequence of the outbreak. It urges for a better, EU wide, coordination of the issue.

Further, the IFOAM EU Group underlines that it is neither appropriate nor responsible to use the present outbreak of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) to blame any farming method. EHEC is not a problem of a specific production system and any farming methods can potentially be affected. The IFOAM EU Group appreciates that policy makers have been communicating carefully in this regard so far.

After all samples of sprouts, of the recently suspected organic farm in lower Saxony, Germany, have so far been negative, the definitive source remains unknown. The EU must acknowledge that the survival of many producers is under severe threat and they have not been in any way responsible for the EHEC outbreak. The EU ministers are making a welcome first step in agreeing to compensate farmers with 150 million Euros. However, this amount is not even enough to compensate the claimed loss suffered in one week by Spanish producers.

The IFOAM EU Group calls on the authorities to follow all possible leads to identify the source of the EHEC outbreak and urges for a comprehensive clarification of the facts.

Source: Press release of the IFOAM EU Group of June 7, 2011

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