The late-May E.coli 104 H4 outbreaks killed 48 people in Germany and sickened about 4000, with a host of culprits from cucumbers to tomatoes named before Egyptian fenugreek sprouts were fingered as the most likely source and subsequently banned in the European Union’s 27 member states.
The EC campaign includes an AV package that will be published this afternoon and include supportive comments from EC commissioner Dacian Ciolos as well as comments from traders and farmers and background information.
A print press campaign promoting the healthiness and safety of European fruit and vegetables will get a staggered launch in the 27 member states over the next three days.
“In recent weeks, this crisis forced farmers to dispose of perfectly safe vegetables left to rot by concerned consumers,” the EC said.
“To help producers get through this difficult period, the European Commission has made 210 million euro available for emergency funding. However the solution can only come from consumers re-introducing fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.”
Cioloş, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, added: “Farmers are committed to providing Europeans with healthy and high quality foodwhich reflects the rich diversity of the European farming model. Whenever a crisis threatens this model, we must protect it. We must also promote it with conviction, both as producers and as consumers. The summer is the perfect season to eat more fruit and vegetables.”
An EC spokesperson said the issue was also set to be discussed during an Agriculture Council meeting tomorrow.
The EC missive quotes one Dutch cucumber grower lamenting the effect of the crisis on his business.
“Throwing away 350,000 cucumbers in only one week and realising afterwards that there was absolutely nothing wrong with them broke my spirit. For my business, this crisis may well mean the end…”.
The AV package is available here.