(31 May 2011) SHOTLIST
1. Various of cucumbers in greenhouse
2. Various of agriculture engineer Amaya Pollo, inspecting the cucumbers
3. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Amaya Pollo, Agriculture engineer:
“What is true is that from the very beginning there has been very negative information for the Spanish agriculture industry circulating. This information has not been double checked and it was released without real knowledge that this product was indeed the cause of the infection.”
4. Mid of Pollo checking plants
5. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Amaya Pollo, Agriculture engineer:
“Without doubt if the product is not exported it stays inside the country which means a reduction in its price. As for the consumers we have noticed that people are worried and consumption has reduced.”
6. Mid of cucumbers hanging from plant
7. Wide of cucumber plants
8. Wide of farm worker opening storage fridge, taking down tray of cucumbers
9. Various of worker handling cucumber trays
Spanish farmers are angry that their produce has been singled out as the possible source of a deadly bacterial outbreak in Europe and are already suffering the fallout, as they throw tons of vegetables away daily due to a slump in foreign demand.
The farmers depend on their reputation as providers of quality produce for much of Europe.
But allegations that 16 deaths from E. coli infection, mostly in Germany, were caused by vegetables from Spain has threatened to hit hard, just as the lucrative summer season begins.
At the “Verduras Curro” greenhouses in Villa del Prado, Madrid, agriculture engineer Amaya Pollo said on Monday Spanish farmers had been put on the spot without clear evidence that their vegetables were tainted.
“This information has not been double checked and it was released without real knowledge that this product was indeed the cause of the infection,” Pollo told AP Television.
Hundreds of cucumbers hang from the roof at this greenhouse, one of several run by a family owned company.
“Verduras Curro” does not export its produce abroad but the food scare has also had an effect on domestic consumption and is impacting on the price of vegetables.
“We have noticed that people are worried and consumption has reduced,” Pollo said.
As the investigation into the outbreak continues, Spain’s farmers fear the damage has already been done.
They say fear of Spanish produce is spreading in Europe, customers are cancelling orders, and farm workers are being laid off in a country saddled with 21 percent unemployment and struggling to overcome recession.
As Spain struggles to emerge from recession, the last thing it needed was to be at the centre of a food poisoning scare.
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