Ukraine to lift ban on Egypt agriculture products

Ahram Online , Wednesday 24 Aug 2011

Vote of confidence that Egyptian seeds are E. coli free gives hopes that other European nations will follow suit and remove import restrictions

Suspicious seeds
The plant watering system at a farm where E.coli bacteria was found in Nieder-Erlenbach, near Frankfurt (Photo: Reuters)

The Ukrainian government has said it will lift the ban on the import of Egyptian vegetables and seeds it placed after Egypt was accused of being the source of June's deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe.

Ukraine officially informed Egypt of its decision on Wednesday, giving rise to hopes that the Europewide ban on 15 Egyptian sprouting seeds and beans, set for reconsideration at the end of October, can be lifted sooner.
 
Egypt's minister of agriculture, Salah Youssef, said the Ukrainian decision came after the country received a formal report from Egypt "refuting the European slanders" which reassured Kiev officials that the charges were false.
 
Europe's decision to ban imports was taken on 5 July after an investigation by its food authority seemingly linked Egyptian seeds to the E. coli outbreaks in northern Germany and Bordeaux, France. Accusations were previously levelled at Spain before it disproved the claims.
 
On Monday, a committee of European Union and World Health Organization experts began a tour of several Egyptian governorates, aiming to verify that Egyptian agricultural products are safe from E. coli.
 
“The actual tour of the European delegation will prove Egyptian fenugreek is innocent from European allegations that it is causing the sickness’,’ said Youssef.
 
The visit comes after a call by the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce for a ban on EU agricultural imports.
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