EU extends ban on Egyptian seeds

Ahram Online, Thursday 20 Oct 2011

Freeze on certain imports to Europe is extended another six months to March 2012, with EU authorities citing insufficient safety in seed production

Ban on export of some Egyptian seeds to EU has been extended to March (Photo: Reuters)

The European Union is extending its temporary ban on importing certain kinds of Egyptian seeds to Europe until the end of March 2012, according to a report on Europolitics website.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health made the decision on 17 October, cited 'insufficient' safety procedures in seed production.

In July, the EU temporarily banned the import of some seeds from Egypt until 31 October after some were linked to a deadly E.coli outbreak in Germany and France.

A firm response from the Egyptian authorities said that local seeds had tested negative for E. coli contamination, proving the country's produce was not responsible for the deadly outbreak.

The Ministry of Agriculture also said that Germany had sent an official letter confirming that Egypt was not responsible. The ban was, however, not lifted.

According to the European Commission, an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in August called 'insufficient' the measures used by Egyptian authorities to address risks in the production of seeds that may be sprouted for human consumption.

FVO added that the new measures failed to provide solid enough guarantees Egypt would carry out production in line with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.

With these recommendations, the Commission proposed the prolonging of the ban.

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