Saturday, May 28, 2011


Berlin (EFE) - German health authorities traced a national outbreak of E.coli that has killed nine people and infected 274 others to imports of Spanish cucumbers.  Hamburg’s Institute for Hygiene and Health detected the bacterium in probes of cucumbers imported from Spain, the Hamburg government said on its website. Wholesalers and retailers including Metro AG (MEO) and Rewe Group have taken Spanish cucumbers off shelves, the companies said.  The European Commission said that two batches of organic cucumbers from Spain have been identified as sources of the outbreak, and a batch from the Netherlands is also being investigated.  Many cases of infection have also occurred in Sweden, Denmark, the U.K. and the Netherlands.

The European Comission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed said two companies from Andalucia may be implicated and that any product that may have been in contact with the infected batch had been removed.  German officials said they found three cucumbers from Spain with the bacterium and they were investigating whether the cucumbers were contaminated when they were shipped from southern Spain, or if they went bad during shipment or while being handled in Germany.  The regional government of Andalusia, where the Spanish producers are located, has taken measures to stop the sale of products from the lots that were identified, Spain’s Health Ministry said. The ministry also said the information it received didn’t clarify if the origin of the problem could be in the handling of the produce. It didn’t identify the companies.

Nine people have died in Germany after eating contaminated Spanish cucumber.  Almost 300 people have become sick with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, in recent days.  This infection is associated with Escherichia Coli, a bacterium which lives in the intestines of ruminant animals, especially cattle, and it is transmitted through contaminated meat, milk and vegetables that were in contact with feces of infected animals.  Due to the effect of action and reaction, pollution caused by the meat industry also affects vegetable crops and general health. 

In “Modern Meat,” Frontline speaks with numerous scientists and industry observers who raise serious concerns about today’s meat production system.  With large numbers of animals being raised together in huge feedlots covered with feces, they say, it’s easy for bacteria to spread from one animal to another.  “Cows tend to produce feces [and] feces is primarily bacteria,” says Glen Morris, a microbiologist at the University of Maryland and a former USDA official.  When those bacteria are spread around, there’s ample opportunity for bacteria to be spread from one cow to the next.  “In the larger feedlots,” he adds, “there’s a greater chance for the passage of microorganisms back and forth.  All of that contributes to the spread of E. Coli.” ... The consequences of bacterial contamination can be deadly.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“The Dangers of Meat”
“Modern Meat: A PBS Frontline Documentary”

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