Some 120 Spanish cucumbers possibly contaminated with the mutated E.coli
bacteria have been sold on the Czech market, a spokesman for the
country’s food inspection authority said on Sunday. The vegetables came
from Germany on Tuesday and were distributed among retailers the
authorities are now trying to identify ; the same German dealer also
supplied cucumbers to Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary, the spokesman said.
Another shipment that arrived in the on Thursday has not yet entered
Spanish cucumbers and other produce are believed to have caused an outbreak of the E.coli bacteria in Germany, Denmark and other countries. In Germany, ten people have died of the infection and hundreds of others fell ill.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority began inspections on Friday of vegetables imported from Spain in response to the outbreak of the E.coli bacteria. Eight people have died in Germany of the infection which has spread to several other countries. A spokesman for the Czech food and drink watchdog said inspections will go on for at least a week; first results should be known by Monday. Meanwhile, a number of retailers, including Tesco and Kaufland, have pulled Spanish cucumbers, tomatoes and other produce off their shelves.
The Czech Republic has won EU protection for Karlovy Vary spa wafers, the
Czech news agency ČTK reported on Thursday. The European Commission
reportedly granted the product the Protected Geographical Indication status
which means only wafers made in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary will be
able to use that name. The decision comes despite opposition from Germany
and Austria where locally made wafers bear the same name.
Wafers in Karlovy Vary, also known by its German name Carlsbad, were first produced in mid-19th century. At that time, the town was almost exclusively populated by ethnic Germans whose descendants were forced to leave after WWII. However, Karlovy Vary continued producing its spa wafers even after the town was repopulated by Czechs.
The European Commission has proposed fining the Czech Republic 180 million crowns for agricultural land erosion. The Ministry of Agriculture say it is reviewing the proposal and may appeal. The Ministry also said that the fine could have been as high as one billion crowns, and that that was averted thanks to its own speedy tightening of regulations upon the change of government. Nearly a half of arable land in the Czech Republic is at danger of erosion.
Le Monde correspondent Fabrice Martin-Plichta has been living in Prague since before the Velvet Revolution. Indeed, the French journalist was working here at Radio Prague when those momentous changes occurred. Since 2004, Martin-Plichta has also been the head of the Czech Federation of Food Banks, an organisation which every year saves hundreds of tonnes of food from being destroyed and distributes it among the needy.
Prague firefighters on Thursday removed a swarm of bees from Prague’s famous astronomical clock, the Orloj. The swarm had started nesting on the clock’s angel statue. Firefighters removed the insects with a special vacuuming device; bystanders and tourists took great interest in watching the procedure, which only lasted about ten minutes.
According to a fresh survey by the Slovakian consumers’ association, international food producers unload lower-quality products on post-communist states, including the Czech Republic. The association’s director said that tests reveal that products in newer EU member states are of lower quality than those on supermarket shelves in older EU member states, with the worst results found in Bulgaria. He added that companies may choose to unload lower-quality products on those markets because they expect consumers there to be more likely to accept poorer quality.
The dean of the medical faculty of Charles University Tomas Zima has warned Czechs against heavy drinking. He said Czechs frequently underestimate the danger of alcohol or even believe that a certain amount of alcohol daily is beneficial for their health. Recent figures show that on average Czechs over 15 consume 16.5 litres of pure alcohol per year, while the world average is 6.13 litres. An alarming trend is the growing number of women and teenagers who develop a dependency on alcohol.
Farmers say the bout of freezing cold weather in early May will severely damage this year’s fruit harvest and may bring some farmers to the brink of bankruptcy. Fruit growers with apple, plum and cherry orchards say the damage is the worst in several decades with fruit trees on close to 7,000 hectares of land cut down in their bloom. Close to 40 percent of Czech fruit orchards have been affected with farmers predicting a poor harvest or none at all. Local fruit processing companies could also feel the brunt. Fruit growers say they want to approach the Agriculture Ministry about the possibility of some form of assistance.
The Muller company, a multinational producer of dairy products, is pulling its milk-rice pudding off the shelves after slivers of glass were found in some of the products sold. The Czech Food Inspection Office said it had received a fast-alert warning late Friday. The warning concerns milk-rice with cinnamon and cherry flavour, as well as the natural variety with an expiry date May 23rd. Over twelve thousand cases of these puddings were imported to the Czech Republic and have been put on sale.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague