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E. coli O104:H4 outbreak

City of Hamburg sentenced to pay damages

The court in Hamburg ordered the city of Hamburg to pay damages, the amount is yet unknown. At the height of the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak, four years ago, Hamburg wrongly warned consumers against Spanish cucumbers. And the Spanish company that supplied the cucumbers sued the city. The verdict is not yet final. Hamburg Health Senator Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks immediately announced it would appeal the decision. 

In May 2011 Prüfer-Storcks announced at a press conference that EHEC pathogens were found in samples of cucumbers from Spain. Later research showed that it wasn’t the dangerous strain that caused the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak.

As a result of the press releases and a Europe-wide food warning the company suffered immense damages. The complainant calculated the damages around the 2.2 million Euro mainly due to a drastic slump in sales following the press conference and the profit loss through image damage afterwards.

During the outbreak 53 people died in Germany.

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