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Egypt's agriculture ministry will not change wheat ergot policy until cabinet issues guidelines

A ban on wheat imports containing ergot was reinstated on Tuesday but the ministry is awaiting instructions

Ahram Online , Wednesday 15 Nov 2017
Views: 2982
Views: 2982

The Agriculture Ministry has not received official notification or any new guidelines regarding Tuesday's court decision that reinstates a ban on wheat purchases containing traces of ergot fungus, ministry spokesperson Hamid Abdel-Dayem told Ahram Online Wednesday.

The ministry, which is responsible for inspecting wheat shipment, will continue accepting shipments containing up to the 0.05 percent ergot limit until new guidelines for the zero-tolerance policy are delivered by the cabinet.

Tuesday's decision was issued by the Administrative Court, which said "the insistence of the Egyptian government to not abide by its decision to ban the imports of wheat infected with ergot, but rather allowing it despite its threat to public health, violates the government's vow to respect the constitution and law, and to provide a proper and healthy environment."

Until 2016, Egypt tolerated the international standard limit of 0.05 percent of the fungus in its wheat imports.

Egypt then instituted a zero-tolerance policy on ergot, threatening to stop Russian shipments of the grain to Egypt, and then re-allowed the previous limit multiple times, before settling on accepting it in September 2016.

The General Authority for Supply Commodities recently purchased 120,000 tonnes of Russian wheat, to be shipped in December, the authority announced last Wednesday.


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