Germany warned over food scares

Germany has been warned to take more care over its food safety announcements in the wake of the E.coli fiasco which caused panic across Europe.

The European Union health chief said it must guard against premature - and inaccurate - conclusions on the source of contaminated food.

Health Commissioner John Dalli told the EU parliament in Strasbourg that such public information must be scientifically sound and foolproof before it becomes public.

Over the past days Germany first pointed a finger at Spanish cucumbers, then at local beansprouts, before backtracking on both.

EU farm ministers are holding an emergency meeting amid demands from farmers that they be paid back for the losses caused by the E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 and made more than 2,330 ill.

Meanwhile Russia's chief health official said there was progress toward the easing of his country's ban on imports of fresh vegetables from EU nations.

Gennady Onishchenko said that European officials had promised to pass on samples of the strain of E. coli, which would help Russia gather information for lifting the ban that was imposed on Thursday.

He singled out Denmark's cooperation and said exports from there could be resumed soon if officials send more information.