Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture has threatened "firm action" against European exports to Egypt as a response to what he called the EU's unjust ban on Egyptian seeds.
Ayman Abo Hadid told the Al-Ahram daily newspaper that the EU commission, through the German government, informed his ministry that Egyptian seeds tested negative for E. coli contamination, proving the country's produce was not responsible for the deadly outbreak.
The European Food Security Authority said on Tuesday that Egyptian fenugreek seeds used to produce sprouts are the most probable link between the two E. coli outbreaks in Northern Germany and Bordeaux, France.
The EU and Russia have banned imports of certain seeds from Egypt as a consequence.
Abo Hadid called the ban "shocking" and "contradicting our belief in European integrity in dealing with Egyptian exports". He demanded a quick explanation of the decision and warned of any attempt to tarnish Egypt’s reputation.
Yesterday officials at the Ministry of Agriculture told Ahram Online that seeds from the Egyptian farm suspected of starting the lethal outbreak in Europe had tested free of E. coli contamination after analysis performed by Egyptian and American laboratories.
"The central laboratories of the Ministry of Health along with Naval Medical Research Unit 3 in Cairo (NAMRU) did not find traces [of E. coli] in seed samples taken from the suspected Egyptian farm," said a ministry official, denying Egypt is the source of the crisis.