The Murcia region in southeastern Spain, where the Segura River is found, is known as Europe’s orchid because of its abundant production of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
But Murcia is coming off a down year because of a variety of factors, not the least of which was the virulent E. coli outbreak last spring centered in northern Germany that resulted in some false alarms pointing fingers at produce that turned out not to be responsible for the outbreak, before European health officials finally settled on sprouts.
Before imported Egyptian-grown fenugreek seeds were found to be the source of the deadly 2011 E. coli O104:H4 outbreak, raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce were all suspected sources. These foods were either banned from countries outside Germany or slowed from crossing borders.
German, French and English markets are the main consumers of produce grown in the the Murcia region. In a report by the Cajamar Foundation, a subsequent marketing campaign for the region worked for apricot, peach, and table grapes, but not so much for melons, tomatoes, lemons and oranges.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak involved at least 4,125 cases in 16 countries, including 908 with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and 50 deaths.© Food Safety News