Europe has been seized these last few weeks with an outbreak of a nasty disease caused by e coli, the bacteria that exists in every one’s digestive tract.  This time e coli mutated to a particularly aggressive bug causing a deadly disease.  Thousands have been infected resulting in many deaths. 

The really dangerous part of this new e coli strain is that antibiotics, which are the usual remedy given to stop  e coli gone wild, serve to actually increase the bug’s defenses, making it even more lethal, instead of benign. 

The outbreak occurred in Hamburg, Germany but showed up in other places.  The German government at first thought the disease came from organically grown cucumbers from Spain.  It banned imports of these from Spain as well as tomatoes, lettuce and other fresh produce grown by organic methods.   In error the ban was used to block all such produce imports from Spain.  

The resulting market disurption caused major chaos.  Spanish produce growers claim they have lost hundreds of millions of euros.  In fact, all fresh produce growers in Europe have seen their sales drop precipitously, since panicked consumers are shying away from all fresh produce..  

The Germans later found that the bad e coli apparently came from organically grown soy bean sprouts produced near Hamburg.  The government then banned all sales of the sprouts.   

Compounding the monumental market disruption the Russians put a ban on all fresh produce from Europe. 

Fortunately the bad bug has been found and action is being taken to stop the spread of the disease.  A major loss of life has been averted.

However, the lasting effect of the scare is that people are still suspect of fresh produce, especially if it comes from Spain and is grown organically.  Many now believe that the scare will put an end to organic produce sales all together.  

Meanwhile I am enjoying lots of fresh Mallorcan salads which consist of cucumbers, tomatoes green pepper and onion whose prices have dropped like rocks.