Farmers call for E. coli compensation
An association of Swiss vegetable farmers is demanding 6.6 million francs ($8.2 million) of compensation from the government for losses incurred during the recent E. coli epidemic in Germany.
The Association of Swiss Vegetable Producers (VSGP) said this week that farmers had lost substantial income over the four weeks in which the E. coli epidemic raged in Germany.
It added that 6.6 million francs would cover the cost of the vegetables destroyed in that period and the losses in sales.
The Agriculture Ministry has agreed in principle to the compensation, but said that the exact amount was still in dispute.
The ministry said that payments for the destruction and loss of sales of cucumbers and tomatoes were acceptable, but that it was reserving judgement on the production of lettuces.
"We don't understand this position," VSGP director Beat Stierli told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper. "For us, the situation with lettuce sales is the same as with cucumber and tomatoes."
Stierli added that the vegetable market had still not recovered from the effects of the E. coli outbreak, but that it was not planning to make anymore demands. He also said that 6.6 million francs was substantially less than the losses to the industry as a whole.
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