Overlimit insecticide found in pepper and strawberry from Egypt; ban likely

download (7) JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is likely to ban the import of Egyptian green peppers and strawberries after they were found with insecticides exceeding permissible limits.

Saudi authorities have sent letters to the Egyptian ambassador in the Kingdom and the Egyptian Agriculture Ministry informing them of the possible ban on the imports of the two products.

Official sources said laboratory tests conducted by the Saudi Agriculture Ministry showed the levels of chemicals in peppers and strawberries imported from Egypt were higher than what was permissible.

According to the Middle East News Agency, the Egyptian Agricultural Ministry asked authorities in the Kingdom to provide it with the results of the tests.

"We want to analyze the results in order to punish the companies that exported such unhealthy products," said Ali Suleiman, head of the agricultural quarantine center at the Egyptian ministry. "We have not yet received any reply from the Saudi Agriculture Ministry in order to remedy this and take action against those responsible," he said.

Importers of Egyptian vegetables and fruits have expressed their concern over the possible ban and feared it would lead to a knock-on price hike. Egypt is one of the major vegetable exporters to the Kingdom.

"Egyptian companies export not only peppers and strawberries but also other vegetables and fruits. So any action against them would affect the market," said one Saudi trader and urged Egyptian exporters to abide by Saudi health regulations.


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