The European Commission said on Tuesday it would ask EU states to release €150 million in aid to European vegetable producers whose sales have been decimated by a deadly bacterium outbreak.
Spain, however, immediately dismissed the offer as insufficient, warning against entering a “numbers war” after German authorities wrongly blamed Spanish cucumbers as the source of the lethal strain of E. coli.
European agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos urged German authorities to quickly find the real source, warning that consumers are losing confidence every day the outbreak remains a mystery.
Mr. Ciolos said it was crucial for authorities in Germany, the epicentre of the crisis, to find the source of an outbreak that killed two more people, raising the death toll on Tuesday to 25.
All but one of the deaths reported since mid-May have occurred in Germany. The other fatality was a woman in Sweden who had recently returned from Germany.
Authorities are yet to identify the source of the outbreak, which has left more than 2,300 people ill at least 14 countries. German consumers are advised to avoid raw sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.
Hopes that the source of contamination had finally been located suffered a setback on Monday when initial probes carried out on a farm growing a variety of organic sprouts in the northern state of Lower Saxony proved negative.