Agriculture Minister Ivan Fuksa, in a Sunday appearance on Czech
Television, apologized for a statement he made earlier this week regarding
the cucumber scare. He had said on Tuesday that fresh produce could
theoretically be tampered with in any distributor’s storage facilities.
On Sunday, he apologized for this statement, adding that it could
negatively affect the business of distributors of fresh fruit and
vegetables. The head of the Czech Agrarian Chamber, Jan Veleba, said he
welcomed the minister’s apology.
Nearly twenty people have died from a mutated E.coli bacterium infection in neighboring Germany; cucumbers were shown not to be the source of the infection. Which foods exactly have caused the bacterial outbreaks across Europe is yet unclear.
Tests on seven suspected cases of the deadly bacterial infection E.coli have proved negative, the country’s chief hygiene office reported on Friday. The one confirmed case of the infection in the Czech Republic was that of an American tourist who had recently spent time in Germany. She had a moderate form of the infection and was released from hospital on Thursday.
Laboratory tests have shown that Spanish bio cucumbers imported to the Czech Republic via a German distributer were not contaminated with a deadly E.coli strain. The news comes days after German authorities backtracked on the initial claim that Spanish cucumbers were the source of the mutated E-coli bacteria that has killed 17 people in Germany and Sweden. The firm Country Life that imported the cucumbers said in a statement on Thursday they suspected from the beginning it was a “false alarm”.
The sale of organic food products in the Czech Republic is reported to have dropped by 30 percent in the past week as a result of the cucumber scare. Supermarkets have also reported a sharp drop in the sale of fruits and vegetables and some have started ordering less of those commodities to minimize their losses.
The Czech Republic has registered 1 case of the deadly bacterial infection E.coli, with seven more cases being tested, the country’s chief hygiene officer reported on Thursday. The one confirmed case was that of an American tourist who had recently spent time in Germany. She is reported to be recovering well and is soon to be released from hospital. Two other suspected cases proved to be a false alarm and the national laboratory on Thursday received seven more samples. The suspected cases are from different parts of the country. Test results should be available later today or on Friday.
Leaders of the Czech coalition government have approved the basic outlines of the planned health care reform. The first phase of the reform, which should be introduced in January 2012, should increase patients’ fees and curb the system administrative costs. At their meeting on Wednesday, the officials also agreed that the reform’s key principle – a new bill determining standard care covered by insurance and “above-standard” care patients will pay for themselves – would be sent to Parliament in mid-June. But a leading Czech expert in medicinal law,
Health Minister Leoš Heger presented the first part of a health care
system reform to the public on Tuesday. He said that a projected deficit
10.6 billion Czech crowns in his ministry’s 2012 budget could be
by several changes to the current health care system. By no longer
dental fillings and medication that costs 50 crowns or less, the state
health insurance company VZP could cut its expenses.
Mr. Heger is currently finalizing the details of the reform, which was the subject of intense debate in Parliament earlier this month. He is also currently preparing a unified legislation that would be binding for all health care insurance companies, and will present three additional proposals to Parliament by June 8. Some details, such as which services will be covered by the insurer and which will have to be paid for by the patient, are still unclear. An increase in patient fees for hospitalization was approved by Parliament in early May and is currently being discussed by the parliamentary committees.
Agriculture Minister Ivan Fuksa has assured the public that intensified
random checks of market vegetables in connection with the Spanish cucumber
scare would continue. Speaking on Czech public television the minister
that at the moment it was not yet clear if the contamination of the
had occurred in Spain, where the vegetables in question were farmed, or at
the end of the distributor, a German company. Mr. Fuksa said that should
someone have tampered with the vegetables, this could be labeled an act of
After it emerged on Sunday that over 200 potentially infected Spanish cucumbers were imported to the Czech Republic, of which 120 were sold on the market, Czech authorities ordered intensified random checks. An outbreak of bacterial infections believed to be caused by E. coli bacteria in contaminated cucumbers and other vegetables have killed 14 in Germany; further outbreaks also occurred in the UK, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
On Tuesday, news of three possible cases of a bacterial infection linked to contaminated cucumbers emerged in the Czech Republic. A Czech man who returned home from a business trip to Germany may have contracted the life-threatening bacterial infection that has lead to 14 deaths in Germany. Another woman who may have caught the infectious disease was hospitalized in Hradec Králové on Tuesday. An American tourist who travelled through Germany has also been hospitalized in Prague on suspicion of having contracted the bacterial infection. The National Reference Laboratory is currently examining samples; test results will confirm whether the Czech man has indeed contracted the mutated E.coli virus.
The Czech Food Inspection authority has ordered intensified random checks
on all market vegetables in connection with the Spanish cucumber scare. It
emerged on Sunday that over 200 potentially infected Spanish cucumbers
imported to the Czech Republic, of which 120 were sold on the market. The
vegetables came from Germany on Tuesday and were distributed to over a
dozen retailers in different parts of the country; the same German dealer
also supplied cucumbers to Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary.
Potentially infected Spanish cucumbers are believed to be behind an outbreak of E.coli bacterial infections in Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. At least ten people have died of the infection in Germany, another 30 are in reported to be in serious condition.
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