Egypt : EU maintains ban on Egypt legumes, seeds over E. coli
Despite the expiration later this month of the period the European Union handed to Egypt over the exporting of legumes to Europe, the EU has said it will maintain the ban due to concerns Egypt’s agriculture industry could have E. coli and must ensure there is no risk before exporting resumes.
According to Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture Salah Farag, the move means 90 percent of agricultural crops destined for export will be forced to remain in country.
“The EU has placed controls and conditions on the import of Egyptian seeds, but we will provide all documents necessary to show that the seeds are free of e. Coli,” Farag said in a press statement on Tuesday.
The EU said that Egypt has taken “insufficient” action to resolve the fears that the country would be exporting tainted seeds and legumes to Europe.
Originally, EU authorities suspected that the E. coli outbreak originated from an Egyptian crop.
Officials from the EU, the United States and Egypt conducted conclusive tests last July, however, and found that the E. coli strain did not originate in Egypt.
Regardless, exports from Egypt are still banned in the EU.
The Ukraine government officially informed Egypt that it would lift the ban earlier this month, raising hopes that the Europe-wide ban would be lifted sooner.
The ban has caused much anxiety in Egypt as the government attempts to put the country’s economy back on track following the January 25 revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
Bikyamasr - 19, Oct 2011