German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent Tuesday evening eating tuna tartare and receiving a Presidential Medal of Honor at a Rose Garden dinner hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama.
Meanwhile, in her homeland, German authorities have been urging people not to eat raw lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, in order to avoid the E. coli bacteria. Unfortunately, this has caused German consumers to avoid almost all vegetables.
Thousands Of Tons Of Fresh Produce Thrown Out
As a result, thousands of tons of fresh produce have been thrown out, and farmers across Europe are furious.
Spain has threatened to sue Germany for compensation as its farmers say their losses are rising to hundreds of millions of euros. The German agricultural association says so far farmers in Germany have lost about €50 million euros ($73.4 million) in revenue since the outbreak.
On Tuesday the EU said it would pay €150 million ($220 million) to farmers in Europe and that amount is expected to rise in the coming days as some countries have hinted more is needed to cover the damages to their farming sectors.
Werder Frucht criticizes the government for its handling of the outbreak of a deadly strain of E. coli in northern Germany. The outbreak has killed nearly two dozen people and will leave many others with lifelong impairments like kidney failure.
Spanish Cucumbers? Sprouts?
German authorities first issued a blanket warning for consumers to avoid eating raw lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then authorities in Hamburg implied that Spanish cucumbers might be the origin of the E. coli stain, a claim later disproved. Now health officials are investigating a company in northern Germany that sells various types of sprouts, but so far lab samples have shown no traces of bacterial infection.
It’s not just the farmers of Europe who are angry at the German government.
No More Inaccurate Reports, Please
The BBC reports that European Union Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner John Dalli earlier warned Germany against issuing any more premature – and inaccurate – conclusions about the source of contaminated food. Information had to be scientifically sound and foolproof before it was made public, he said.
From the BBC:
“It is crucial that national authorities do not rush to give information on the source of infection that is not proven by bacteriological analysis,” he told the European Parliament.
“This spreads unjustified fears [among] the population all over Europe and creates problems for our food producers.”
Care2′s Annie Urban wrote here a few days ago about the shocking fact that about one third of the food produced globally is thrown away. (And more like 40% in the United States.) Now the German government, by making unsubstantiated claims, is adding to that wastage.
How about setting a better example, Germany?
Photo Credit: Carodean Road Designs via Creative Commons