Min. Health Monitoring Cyprus Market for E-coli
Contaminated cucumbers thought to originate in Spain have spread E-coli to Germany, where 10 people have died of the bacterial infection.
The Ministry of Health in Cyprus said that the cucumbers came from Malaga and Almeria in Spain, and that officials on the island have a 24-hour watch on the situation.
"The health services have informed Cypriot businessmen involved in intra-community trade in fruit and vegetables to be very cautious," said Health Minister Christos Patsalides.
According to the ministry, Cyprus consumers do not need to worry because there have been no Spanish cucumbers in Cyprus according to recent information.
"We urge consumers to avoid food poisoning by following the rules of good hygienic practice, wash vegetables thoroughly with clean water and thoroughly wash hands," said the minister.
The Food Safety Council is monitoring the situation, he said.
Meanwhile, consumers in Sweden, France, Britain and Austria have been warned to avoid cucumbers until the outbreak is over. And anyone who has visited Germany recently and feels unwell is advised to contact their doctor, said health authorities in those countries. The European Commission said it is still testing samples of cucumbers in Germany to try and confirm where the infection originated.
The bacteria can cause kidney failure and is a particularly strong strain which has affected adults. Usually, E-coli mostly affects children with diahrrea and vomiting.
Meanwhile, Spanish officials have called on EU food safety authorities to prove that the cucumbers came from Almeria and Malaga, and have denied that the bacterial infection came from Spain.