Consumers should buy British - message from Europe's e-coli outbreak says BTGA's Gerry Hayman

A deadly e-coli outbreak in Germany possibly linked to organic cucumbers imported from Spain should highlight to consumers the importance of buying British-grown salads.

Britain has the highest growing and processing procedures for salad crops according to BTGA's Gerry Hayman - image: HW
Britain has the highest growing and processing procedures for salad crops according to BTGA's Gerry Hayman - image: HW

This is the claim of salad industry stalwart Gerry Hayman, of the British Tomato Growers’ Association.

He told Grower: "How many more reasons do consumers need to choose to buy British salad crops?"

"In the 45 years I have been involved with the British tomato industry, I am not aware of a single report of a food poisoning incident occurring in the tomato production process here. "

"There is no risk from any contaminated water supplies being used for commercial tomato production in the UK and no animal manures are used in production in either organic or conventional systems."

He added: "UK packhouses adhere to the strictest of food hygiene regulations and standards."

According to the BBC, as many as 14 people have now died in Germany from the outbreak and hundreds are ill.

Cucumbers from Almeria and Malaga have been identified as possible sources of contamination.

The European Commission reported that the Spanish authorities are focusing their efforts on pinpointing the exact site of production of the organic cucumbers in question.

The Food Standards Agency said it is monitoring the situation closely and stressed there is currently no evidence that any affected organic cucumbers from the sources identified have been distributed to the UK.


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