As the Health Protection Agency urges people to wash their salad after it was confirmed that four more people in the UK have been infected with the deadly E.coli bacteria that has spread across Europe killing 17 people, Essex Euro MP Richard Howitt has spoken out in defence of the great British cucumber.
Richard Howitt MEP is warning of a danger that sales of locally-grown salad goods could be hit unnecessarily and insists Europe’s Rapid Alert System for Food kicked in just as it is meant to and Essex customers should keep buying cucumbers.
80 million cucumbers are produced in Essex and the rest of East Anglia according to the Cucumber Growers Association. The Labour Euro MP backed crisis talks in Brussels on how to help cucumber growers.
Richard Howitt MEP 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 Essex fruit and veg.
“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.”