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June 15, 2011

EU: EU member states approve EUR210m E. coli aid package

The European Council of Ministers has approved an improved package that will provide EUR210m (US$286.8m) in emergency aid to Europe's fresh produce industry, which has seen sales hit in the fall-out from Germany's E. coli outbreak.

The European Council of Ministers has approved an improved package that will provide EUR210m (US$286.8m) in emergency aid to Europe’s fresh produce industry, which has seen sales hit in the fall-out from Germany’s E. coli outbreak.

Under the deal, proposed last week, aid will be used to compensate European producers of cucumbers, lettuces, tomatoes, courgettes and peppers.

Farmers will be paid for up to half the value of goods withdrawn from the market, based on a reference price for June, the Commission said in a statement yesterday (14 June). The final figure will be confirmed on 22 July, the European Commission said.

Demand for fresh produce declined significantly after German authorities wrongly linked the E. coli outbreak, which has to date resulted in 37 confirmed deaths, to various produce items before tying the strain of bacteria to bean sprouts produced at a single farm in Bienenbuettel, Germany. German authorities had advised consumers to avoid uncooked tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce.

Spain, France, Poland and Slovakia voted against the package and called for more help for more farmers producing a wider range of produce. Previously, the Agriculture Council rejected proposals to provide farmers with EUR150m in support.

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