As the number of consumers avoiding vegetables grows, European farmers say they are losing millions of euros every day.
Russia on Thursday extended a ban on vegetables from Spain and Germany to the entire European Union to try to stop the outbreak spreading east, a move the EU quickly called disproportionate and Italy's farmers denounced as "absurd." No deaths or infections have been reported in Russia.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in a telephone conversation late Thursday to push for EU help for affected farmers, Merkel's spokesman said.
Merkel, however, also defended the decision of state officials in Hamburg to announce their suspicions that Spanish cucumbers were the possible source of the outbreak. The warning was given after three cucumbers from Spain tested positive for E. coli, but further tests then revealed that it was a different strain to the one that has sickened so many people in the northern port city and elsewhere.