- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s prime minister has hit out at the European Commission and Germany on Thursday for singling out the country’s produce as a possible source of a deadly bacterial outbreak in Europe, and said the government would demand explanations and reparations.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the EU commission “was slow because from the moment the minister in Hamburg had ruled it (E. coli outbreak) was not caused by Spanish cucumbers it should have reacted more decisively and faster.”

The bacteria outbreak has killed 17 people, most in Germany, over the past week. The crisis paralyzed Spanish exports of fruit and vegetables.

Zapatero told Spanish National Radio that the German federal government was ultimately responsible for the allegations, adding that Spain would seek “conclusive explanations and sufficient reparations.”

Spanish farmers say the wrongful accusations has devastated their credibility and thus their exports to the rest of Europe. In Valencia, protesting farmers dumped some 300 kilograms (700 pounds) of cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other produce outside the German consulate.

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