Cambs Euro MP Richard Howitt backs British cucumbers as deadly E.Coli bug hits Europe
CAMBS Euro MP Richard Howitt has spoken out for the “great British cucumber” as the deadly E.coli bug spreads across Europe.
Four people in the UK have been infected by the bacteria, which has killed 17 people in Germany. The strain is believed to have spread via contaminated raw cucumbers or tomatoes.
With the Health Protection Agency urging people to wash their salad, Cambridgeshire MEP Mr Howitt has warned that sales of locally-grown salad goods could be hit unnecessarily.
The Labour MEP said Europe’s Rapid Alert System for Food kicked in just as it is meant to and Cambridgeshire customers should keep buying cucumbers.
Mr Howitt said: “Although I accept expert advice that this is the biggest ever outbreak of its kind, there is every reason to avoid the sort of panic in Britain that has been seen in Germany and beyond.
“All of the infections in Britain are amongst people who have eaten infected food in Germany before travelling back here.
“Today’s advice to wash your salad is good practice at any time and it is very important people aren’t scared off eating good Cambridgeshire fruit and veg.”
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80 million cucumbers are produced in the East of England according to the Cucumber Growers Association. Mr Howitt backed crisis talks in Brussels on how to help cucumber growers.
He said: “Fresh cucumbers are actually very good for your health, providing a very good source of vitamins A, C, and folic acid.
“I would encourage customers to look out for Union Jack Flag to show the cucumbers are grown in the UK and the Red Tractor logo which means the veg was produced on a well-managed farm that has been independently inspected to achieve high standards of food safety, hygiene and environmental protection.”