The announcement came after a week in which farm ministers have been demanding compensation for farmers who have incurred large losses in the wake of the E. coli outbreak in Germany, which has so far killed 23 people. Rosa Aguilar, Spain’s farm minister, has called for Spanish farmers to receive 100% compensation for their losses. Spanish farm unions have estimated the losses at €200m a week. Cioloş said that farmers would receive around one-third of the market price for cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce, the three products that have been worst hit by the E. coli scare. There would also be compensation for courgettes and peppers, he said.Retailers have cancelled orders for fruit and vegetables following reports that the source of the E. coli contamination was Spanish cucumbers eaten in Hamburg. Tests on suspected cucumbers subsequently found that they were not contaminated with the strain responsible for the deaths and severe sickness of several hundred people.John Dalli, the European commissioner for health and consumers, who attended the meeting in Luxembourg, said that there should be an examination of the EU’s rapid-alert system for unsafe food products, once the source of the infection had been identified and the crisis had been brought under control. Dacian Cioloş, the European commissioner for agriculture, today announced a €150 million compensation package for EU farmers affected by the slump in fresh produce sales caused by the E. coli outbreak. Speaking after an emergency meeting of the EU’s farm ministers in Luxembourg today, Cioloş said he was planning “an improved offer” in the next couple of days that would increase the compensation available. The commissioner said the compensation would be provided to fruit and vegetable producers for withdrawing their produce from sale.