Russia to monitor vegetable prices after EU imports ban

June 2nd, 2011 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, June 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia will monitor vegetable prices to prevent them from skyrocketing after the country banned vegetable imports from the European Union, an official said Thursday.

“We will monitor them very closely so that there are no groundless price hikes,” Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) chief Igor Artemyev told reporters.

Earlier Thursday, Russia banned the imports of fresh vegetables from all European Union countries, which supply it with 20 percent of the products, because of an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria.

At least 1,200 people in northern Germany have been affected by an Escherichia coli outbreak, initially suspected to be caused by cucumbers imported from Spain. The European Commission has reported 10 deaths in nine countries, whereas European news agencies place the toll at 17.

The German authorities admitted Tuesday that more tests on cucumbers revealed that they did not carry the dangerous bacteria, which became a cause of the deaths.

Spain said it will take legal action for what it said were groundless statements last week by Germany pointing to Spain as the supplier of the tainted cucumbers. Spain is to seek compensation for the country’s fruit and vegetable exporters, who have lost more than 200 million euro ($290 million).

E. coli bacteria are common and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, but a few strains can cause severe illness. An E. coli complication, hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), can lead to a stroke, seizures and fatal kidney disorders.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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