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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Heated fight breaks out over E. coli farm payments

By RAF CASERT

BRUSSELS – Big fruit and vegetable producers Spain, Italy and France angrily demanded compensation Tuesday for farmers who have been blindsided by huge losses in the E. coli outbreak, forcing the EU farm chief to increase his offer of aid.

Dacian Ciolos

Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos at first offered euro150 million ($219 million) to the struggling farmers, who have tons of unwanted cucumbers and tomatoes rotting in fields and warehouses as Europeans shun vegetables, fearing they are contaminated with a deadly strain of the E. coli bacteria.

But EU agricultural ministers scoffed at his proposal, saying their farmers are seeing losses up to euro417 million ($611 million) a week so far. Farmers are livid that prices for their crops have collapsed after being erroneously blamed by German health officials for an outbreak that has killed 24 people and infected over 2,400. The cause of the contamination crisis is still unclear.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

Slobodan Lekic

Raf Casert

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