Expected fall in the price of Swedish vegetable as growers watch the effects of the E coli scare hit them


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Friday, 03 June 2011
It is clear that the outbreak of the e-coli disease first claimed to have originated from vegetables such as cucumber and now lettuce will affect the sales of vegetables especially the salad vegetables. Therefore Swedish farmers are bracing for a fall in sales of their products.

The first shot in to this sequence was the Russian who banned the importation of EU vegetables which includes Swedish. The immediate effect is that there would be a hefty price drop. "Tomatoes and lettuce are no priced at the moment," said Ted Stenshed, president of Sydgr�nt, a Swedish vegetable dealing organisation.

The EHEC e-coli  outbreak in Europe, which mainly affected Germany, Spain and Denmark  and now spreading all over the world will now have consequences for the Swedish vegetable growers, although none have been infected by the bacteria in Sweden.

"It is clear that it affects us. As Russia closes borders, there is more production than consumption in the EU and it means that prices are going to be very low, "said Ted Stenshed, president of Sydgr�nt who is a producer organization with 70 active growers.

Holland, who grows most vegetables in Europe, usually exporting to Russia will now try to sell to other countries instead, leading to price pressure, "he said.
"There are lots of goods bound for Russia, which may not get into the country right now. Everyone is worried, "said Ted Stenshed.

According to the health officials, there are no known cases of EHEC infection of cucumbers or other vegetables that have been eaten in Sweden and the health authority finds that the risk of infection in Sweden is very small. In order to calms fears, the health authority has invited the Swedish importers to check if they distributed the cucumbers in recent times that can be linked to the outbreak, in parallel, contact tracing and the likes.

Danish officials have cleared their own vegetables of any infection and say their products are safe to eat.
According to Ted Stenshed Sydgr�nt, which is now in the season exclusively deal with Swedish vegetables, have taken extensive measures to prevent various types of infections from being transmitted in production.

"We have a sampling program that runs continuously and has done a huge job to avoid problems with dirty water. We have not seen any problems, "he says.
He however believes that there is a general concern in Sweden because Swedish people eat vegetables.
"But in the case of imports, we get a lot of questions from our consumer contact and we have many visitors on the website. People want information about what is happening, "said Ted Stenshed.

Russia's decision to impose an immediate ban on imports of raw vegetables from Europe became known on Thursday and criticism was not long in coming. On Friday, followed by Lebanon which imposed  similar ban on imports.
Fernando Valenzuela, head of an EU delegation in Russia, urged Russia to lift the import ban, given that it is not compatible with WTO rules. Russia has had lengthy negotiations for WTO membership and hoped to be able to finish them this year.
Representatives of leading Swedish supermarkets say that the  EHEC outbreak has not affected sales of their fresh vegetables…yet. 
By Team


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