Saudi Arabia bans exporting Egypt’s ‘contaminated with pesticide’ pepper

Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporarily ban on the import of all types of Egyptian peppers, after pepper shipments detected to be contaminated with pesticide residue, the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement added that the decision came in the wake of an earlier Russian ban on Egyptian agricultural products, as well as the US ban on Egyptian strawberries.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the ministry on Tuesday saying that the temporary ban has been imposed after pesticides residues were detected in pepper samples, which were examined and analysed by the ministry.

The Saudi ministry has directed agricultural quarantines at Kingdom’s various ports and relevant government agencies to take the necessary measures in this regard.

Egypt’s Ahram Online quoted the executive director of the Egyptian Agricultural Export Council (AEC) Hany Hussein saying that he had obtained a Saudi memo that says the ban would be put into effect in February.

“A meeting between the Egyptian and Saudi officials has to be scheduled to determine the reasons behind the decision and determine how to move forward,” he insisted, noting that the Saudi imports of Egyptian peppers amounts at 15,000 tonnes annually.

According to Egyptian International Trade Point, Egyptian agriculture exports to Saudi Arabia, excluding cotton, registered $240 million from January to June of this year.

Last September, Russia’s food safety watchdog banned fruit and vegetables imports from Egypt over sanitary concerns. In October, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed a ban on the import of Egyptian strawberries over alleged contamination of Hepatitis A.

These embargoes were placed as Egyptian exporters do not adhere to the international food safety standards required by the importing countries.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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