Tons Of Fresh Veggies Trashed In Germany

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.

From CNN:

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


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

As far as I remembered it, it turned out to be coming from seeds. At least the one outbreak in Germany. But there were others, and still are, that haven't been linked to any source yet. E. coli is a horrible bacteria, but it is manageable considering how many more bacterias there are in foods. Salmonella, for instance. Botulism is widespread too but the difference is that it usually can be traced to fish or meat and not vegetables. 1+1 =2?

Janine H.
Janine H.4 years ago

This is so sad. And it is a waste. Thinking about countries where is hunger, it makes me sad, more sad than thinking not about them. I am in germany and in the news there was a lot of panic because of food and bacteria. And it is a shame, that food is destroyed, because of a panic (too often created by media, etc.), because of a few days over (but the food is still good, still smells good), because someone does not like it,... This society is so sick (not only that in germany): a throw away society - throw away food, throw away friends, families, boy-/girlfriends, husbands/wifes,... it is so insane, as if nothing, but egoismn, has a value anymore :(

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

What a waste! I remember the "good old days" when you only got e-coli from eating meat. Now it appears nothing is safe...which really sucks because I don't eat meat!

Bernard Cronyn
4 years ago

This is symptomatic of the mentaly challenged politicians who run the World; you make an emotional statement without any basis of proof and then take no responsibility for the consequences. In this case you happily dump the responsibility on the EU to cough up compensation for those farmers lives you have ruined. Reminds me of a highly emotive German leader over 60 years ago who also took no responsibility for his emotive accustations and outbursts.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Grow your own! Waste not, want not!

Pradip Chavda
Pradip Chavda4 years ago

What a waste and that too without any substantiating proof.

Dean P.
Dean P.4 years ago

amasing how markets can be dominated with false claims.

Pats K.
Pats K.4 years ago

Imagine if a situation alike would occur in a third world country, how different would it be handle....

Alice G.
Alice G.4 years ago

Yeah, I think the E-coli virus was purposefully planted and blamed on veggies, so that people eat more meat from factory farms. To me eating meat from these facilities it's a crime not only against the poor animals that are tortured day in and day out, but also against our own bodies which will suffer in long run from various diseases, among which the No. 1 Killer - The heart disease. But hey that's how doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies are getting rich, right ?

Dianna M.
Dianna M.4 years ago

If ten, or five, or even three scientists (in labs independent of each other) agreed that Y. pestis was artificially bonded to the E. coli bacterium, I'd start panicking. But as near as I can tell--and I have to admit, I haven't spent a lot of time looking--it's only one scientist being quoted.

And please remember, it was only ONE study that reported that autism was linked to childhood vaccines; and since the results could never be duplicated, plus the methodology was considered suspect, so scientists have generally rejected this hypothesis. But people still believe that one single claim.

I think all the people who keep saying that this is the fault of sloppy "cesspool" farming techniques have it right--CEOs of large corporations have shown repeatedly that only the almighty profit matters, and anything that affects that profit, like environmental concerns, gets zero consideration.

And our U.S. corporations are by no means innocent, which is why I find that last sentence in this article, "How about setting a better example, Germany?" very offensively self-righteous and hypocritical.

I say this as an American who loves her country, but sees that it could be better.