Telling Mediterraneans not to eat cucumbers is like taking baguettes away from Parisians.
At least 10 people have died, and one thousand more expected to be ill from eating tainted organic cucumbers and other fresh produce consumed in Germany. Contaminated with a rare and deadly form of E.coli, a bacteria, the organic cucumbers are causing widespread panic in Europe, as the exact origin of the cucumbers is still not known.
So far all the deaths have been in Germany, and according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, it was one of the largest poisonings of its kind in the world. The source is believed to be from farms in Spain but until now, no one is certain. People in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, Lebanon and Israel, where raw cucumbers are a staple, are reasonable to be on alert.
Local, organic farms in Germany are profiting from the outbreak that was first recorded about 3 weeks ago. Yet, there is still a warning for consumers about eating raw vegetables. The bacteria was found also in lettuce and raw tomatoes.
When ingested it can cause kidney failure and death and it’s particularly resistant to antibiotics. Israelis, who eat cucumbers like Americans eat apples, or Parisians baguettes, were alleviated and told not to worry yesterday by local media- that the cucumbers did not reach Israel, and in any case, all vegetables that are imported are tested for bacteria before they enter the market.
Still, with so many imports moving around the world, it can be hard to know where your food comes from unless you grow it in your backyard, or support local CSA that you trust. Besides raising chickens for eggs in my backyard (learn how to make your own chicken coop here), this scare is enough to have me thinking about starting a cucumber patch in my backyard.
image of Turks eating cucumber snacks via cristic