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The United Arab Emirates issued a temporary ban on cucumbers from Spain, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. State news agency WAM said the Gulf nation's Minister of Environment and Water issued the order based on information "from international food safety agencies and news reports."
Lyubov Voropayeva, spokeswoman for the Russian Agency for the Supervision of Consumer Rights, told the AP the Russian ban has been imposed immediately and indefinitely.
The agency's chief Gennady Onishchenko told Russian news agencies that this "unpopular measure" would be in place until European officials inform Moscow of the cause of the disease and how it is being spread.
"How many more lives of European citizens does it take for European officials to tackle this problem?" he told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.
No fatalities or infections have yet been reported in Russia.
The European Union argued the Russian ban was disproportionate. Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for the EU's Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli, said Thursday that the European Commission would write to Russia to demand further clarification of the ban.
Meanwhile, Spain's prime minister slammed the European Commission and Germany for singling out the country's produce as a possible source of the outbreak, and said the government would demand explanations and reparations.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Spanish National Radio that the German federal government was ultimately responsible for the allegations, adding that Spain would seek "conclusive explanations and sufficient reparations."
The outbreak is already considered the third-largest involving E. coli in recent world history, and it may be the deadliest. Twelve people died in a 1996 Japanese outbreak that reportedly sickened more than 9,000, and seven died in a 2000 Canadian outbreak.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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