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With all the hoo-ha surrounding the fatal E. coli bug in Europe, maybe the kids are on to something when they don't eat their greens?

The panic surrounding the mutant E. coli strain led firstly to Spanish cucumbers, then German organic sprouts, then finally all salad vegetables being blamed - resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of destroyed crops.

The Spanish authorities are furious at being falsely accused. Their farmers have been losing €225 million ($396m) a week since Germany mistakenly claimed to have found the pathogen in Spanish cucumbers.

Such was the outrage that at an emergency EU agricultural ministers meeting this week the Spanish representative waved a fine-looking cucumber in the air and demanded the EU "restore the honour of the cucumber".

It's no laughing matter, though, as the death toll from the bacteria has risen to 30 and more than 2900 people have been diagnosed with the infection.

Farming is a precarious business.

It's even more precarious when an incompetent, panic-stricken government is fanning stories of a mutant killer bug and blaming everything green.