The European Commission (EC) has launched a promotional campaign “to help address the difficulties faced by the fresh fruit and vegetables sector following the E. coli crisis.” Consisting of an advertorial and an audiovisual package for distribution in all European Union (EU) member states, the effort is reportedly an attempt to “win back consumer trust.”

As part of the campaign, EC announced that emergency funding of €210 million has been targeted to aid EU fruit and vegetable producers. “In recent weeks, the E. coli crisis forced farmers to dispose of perfectly safe vegetables left to rot by concerned consumers,” noted the EC, adding that the “solution can only come from consumers reintroducing fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.”

Initially attributed to several sources from France and Germany, an E. coli outbreak earlier this year reportedly killed 51 people. The outbreak’s source was eventually traced to Egyptian fenugreek seeds and bean sprouts, which have been temporarily banned for importation to the EU. Details of the ban were covered in Issue 401 of this Update. See EC Press Releases, July 18 and 19, 2011.