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Should Travellers Coming to Spain Worry About the E.Coli Bacteria?

Friday, June 17th, 2011, 2:36 am

My answer is: there is no need to worry. In Spain everyone feels safe eating as usual.  Here is the current situation.

Evidences are being found that healthy and safe cucumbers travelled from the South of Spain to Germany. During the trip, and already in Germany, one of the boxes got broken and the vegetables must have touched the ground at some point and got infected. The party should have been destroyed as it’s stipulated, but for some reason it wasn’t and it got into the market chain, intoxicating people as a result.

So far, all people intoxicated are Germans or had been in Germany recently. Only one Spanish man has been affected… and he had been in Germany as well.

Spanish agricultors are very angry at the German authorities who immediately blamed the Spanish cucumbers without checking first where the infection had started. And everyone in Spain keeps eating as usual, no panic and no fear. Even the European-level alert set at the beginning of the emergency has already been removed.

However, it’s understandable that you don’t want to run any risk on your vacation! So if you wish to feel totally safe when you are in Spain here are some tips for you:

  • First of all, avoid to order Gazpacho (a vegetable soup that usually contains cucumber) and any salad with cucumber on it. Not many other Spanish dishes are likely to include cucumber as an ingredient.
  • Next, cucumber is a vegetable that is only eaten raw, as far as I know. Washing them throughouly should be enough to get rid of any bacteria or virus on its skin. Peeling them is another way to add extra safety. I trust the local restaurants to be strict with these rules. But if you still need more precautions, just stick to cooked vegetables in general: fried, steamed, grilled… Heat also destroys bacteria.
  • No infection has been found in other vegetables, so eating everything else but cucumber could make you feel more reassured.

These are just a few recomendations that make sense to me, and that you might want to follow if the cucumber news are making you nervous. After all, vacations are about relaxing, right? But I can tell you that I totally trust the local produce and the cleanliness of our restaurants and cafés. I’m not changing at all my eating habits because of the E. Coli news. And that’s how everyone is feeling around here as well.

I hope to have been of help!

Meet our Barcelona Local Expert:

Marta Laurent was born in Barcelona and has been a local expert and official tourguide since 2000. She gives private tours for couples, families and small groups, and specialises in the Gaudí sites, but also loves to stroll around the Old Town (Gothic Quarter, Jewish Section…) and was one of the first local guides to give food tours in town. Her tours are a combination of the best sightseeing, a touch of real local life, some fun entertaining stories and lots of tips for the rest of your stay.


Photo credits (in order of appearance): estherase (featured photo)

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