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July 26, 2011

Billions lost as EU rejects Egypt's agricultural products over E.coli concerns

The European Union said on July 25 that they would not accept any Egyptian agricultural products into the continent. The move will cost Egypt an estimated 25 million pounds ($4.2 billion), and has the government frustrated as it attempts to put the country’s economy back on track following a January revolution that ousted the former regime.

... exporters and farmers announced they will respond to the move by protesting in front of the European Union’s headquarters in Cairo.

The move comes on the heels of an outbreak of E. coli in Europe, which the continent’s agricultural experts say originated in Egyptian fenugreek seeds.

In response, the EU earlier this month banned all seed imports from Egypt into Europe, but has now moved to forbid all agricultural products from the North African country.

The measure ignores both Egyptian and European tests which proved that the Egyptian fenugreek seeds were safe and free from E. coli bacteria.

The agriculture ministry told the European mission in Egypt that it was surprised at the measure adopted by the EU...

According to the state-run MENA news agency, the ministry received earlier this month a letter from the European Commission approving the safety of the Egyptian fenugreek.

The E. coli outbreak has killed over 50 people in Europe since it was first reported in late May.

Russia’s food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has also banned the import of certain types of produce from Egypt over food safety concerns, a Russian official said.

Egypt’s ministry of agriculture has repeatedly refuted the claims of the E. coli source being Egypt.

Egypt Daily News

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