I have just been reading about the e. coli outbreak in Germany, originating from eating raw foods (specifically cucumbers) that were imported from, they suspect, Spain.
Now, in addition to the extreme health crisis, there is an economic factor, because some countries are banning the importation of vegetables from Spain, Germany, and even the Netherlands.
Hubbers in Europe, please tell the rest of us what is going on? IzzyM, are you okay?
Just saw this thread. Obviously yes I am fine - and I ate a cucumber the other day.
It seems to be cucumbers and possibly tomatoes that are for export only that is affected - I live very near the growing regions.
This is going to be devastating for the Spanish farmers because they export most of what they grow.
It seems to be their organics produce affected. The Spanish don't seem to be bothered about buying organic produce - never see it labelled as such in the shops - but other European countries like Germany and Switzerland go mad for it, even if it costs a lot more.
Here's the latest on it
I have just seen (in Hubtivity) that IzzyM posted here just a few hours ago, so I think that means she is okay. (She lives in Spain.)
But I really am very concerned about this health matter.
Hang on - Camlo lives in Germany! Has anyone heard from him recently?
Here is a link (from Reuters), for anyone who wants to read more about it:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110530/hl_ … ny_ecoli_3
I am in London and have not heard anything as of yet, tho I have not paid any attention to the news today. I do know that these things do happen sometimes and they always advise that foods be washed and kept separate to avoid cross contamination, not sure if this would be enough for what you are talking about tho
I read the headline 'Cucumber Fear' and thought it was about some newly discovered phobia, as fear of oranges is a recognised phobia.
It really does have the ring of a Horror movie or something similar! When I first read the headlines, I thought it sounded positively silly. But then I read the article. I won't post the whole thing here, but this is one excerpt (from the link I posted):
"The German government has identified the pathogen as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a type of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and said it had killed 14 people and made at least 329 ill.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a risk assessment that the HUS/STEC outbreak is one the largest in the world of its kind."
The article has many other highly worrisome details.
Thank you both for your responses.
I mentioned it to my husband and read out a few relevant lines from the article and he is as perplexed as I. Cucumber seems a very weird source of E. Coli. Seems like folks aren't washing their fresh veg? It's not typical for the actual meat of a cucumber or other veg to carry food poisons like E. Coli or other bugs, usually its a contamination from raw meat on the surface of the veg, why we always wash all our veg even when wrapped in plastic (never know who handled it before it was plastic wrapped)
I think two things in particular are involved. One is that they suspect the vegetables are linked to (a) farm(s) that grow(s) organic vegetables. That probably means they use animal manure for fertilizer, and so the veggies just may start out with a larger dose of exposure to e. coli. Possibly also (this is my speculation), if manure is used from the beginning, maybe the e. coli actually can be incorporated into the inside of the vegetable rather than remaining on its skin as we would usually expect. As I said, this is just speculation on my part.
The second matter is that the specific strain is very virulent. So a smaller dose of it would be more powerful than a comparable amount of everyday e. coli, I think.
Go to any African country and you'll be advised not to eat raw fruit or vegetables unless you can peel them - because so many pathogens can adhere to the skin. I didn't eat lettuce or tomatoes for three years!
Both conventional and organic farms use composted manure. I'm not familiar with the regulations in Europe for farm produce. Are organic farmers certified?
In the US, there are strict regulations on the use of composted manure with certified organic farming.
I read that washing produce with water doesn't do the full job, a spray solution with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water is more effective. Simply spray and then rinse off with regular water.
That is so exciting and cool to know about using vinegar to clean veggies!! It makes perfect sense, but I never would have thought of that.
I had heard of using diluted bleach, but I'm not sure I would ever feel that the vegetables had been rinsed thoroughly enough afterward. Vinegar is the way to go!
- - - -
Any new readers here? Anyone have any new updates on our fellow Hubbers?
I have heard speculation that vinegar is used to make many salad dressings for just this reason. I personally drink apple cider vinegar any time my tummy gets upset and I think it was something I ate. Seems that a lot of commercially used eggs in this country are contaminated (meaning eggs sold to resturants and what not, not those sold directly to you in the store with a gov. stamp on) and I have more then once found mayo to have made me ill, the cider vinegar kills whatever is in my tummy and gut so that within hours I feel fine again. I find the stuff has a weird taste but now I associate it with feeling better so am happy to drink it (even if it turns out that I have something else that it wont help, like the vomiting virus, had that last year and nothing helped!). Basically I swear by the stuff!
The crisis is deepening with two more deaths and Spain is unable to export any produce.
Huge row in Europe now - Spanish cucumbers not to blame after all, and meanwhile loads of workers are losing their jobs through the massive losses in exports (estimated at $250 MILLION per week), and Spain having to dump tons of perfectly good pepinos.
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/ … exonerated
Oh my word, Izzy!
I haven't been able to review these links yet, but I definitely will later when I can. I am soooo sorry to hear how this is affecting the farmers and all workers in the loop. As if their lives are not hard enough already!
I'm glad to hear directly from you that you're okay and appreciate the insight you've provided.
kirsten, thanks for the information about your experience with cider vinegar. Fascinating!
What do you all think - Is Germany doing the right thing by announcing possible causes for the outbreak, before the connection is verified?
Is it the country's fault, or perhaps the media's, that they recently announced the cause of the outbreak (a new theory) and then almost immediately did a flip-flop?
Does this type of public speculation about the source of the problem help people to be more careful, or create panic, or perhaps cause them to think that Germany is "crying wolf"?
The last I saw they were pointing at beansprouts from Germany.
Another huge issue connected to the industrial growing methods by the supermarket conglomerates and their out-sourcing industry.
I'll check again, but the most recent report I read said that now they are saying the bean sprouts are not the problem, after all. That was actually what prompted my questions.
The article I read did say, though, that there could have been some kind of contamination on bean sprouts eaten three weeks ago, even if none shows up in their studies now.
But, as I said, I will look again.
Im just curious. Is this a new variant of E.Coli? We have many E.Coli source in our home especially in toilette. In our body, there is amount of E.Coli which help us on absorbing the vitamins and minerals.
So, in German, is that a new variant of E Coli ?
Yes, it's a new mutation of E Coli which has linked to a dangerous toxin that can cause kidney damage.
It's not unusual for E Coli to mutate in this way - apparently there was a similar severe outbreak in the States some years ago.
It's not readily transmitted from person to person, because you have to actually eat the bacteria. So you could catch it by kissing someone who's infected, but you probably wouldn't catch it by shaking their hand.
That's why the outbreak hasn't spread beyond Northern Germany and they think it will just run its course and die out.
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