FarmPolicy

May 27, 2017

Egypt Repeals its Ban on Imports of Grains Tainted with Ergot

Recall that earlier this week, The Financial Times reported that, “For the world’s wheat farmers already reeling from decade-low prices due to bumper crops around the world, it is the last thing they wanted.

Confusion surrounding quarantine rules in Egypt has effectively taken the world’s largest wheat importer out of the international market, depressing prices, which are already weak from plentiful harvests.”

Yesterday, Ed Ballard and Dahlia Kholaif reported at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Egypt has repealed its ban on imports of grains tainted with ergot, a fungus found in wheat, backing down after a face-off with the international grain trade that was threatening the food security of the import-dependent country.

“The ban had led to the rejection of hundreds of thousands of tons of grain found to contain ergot.”

The Journal writers explained that, “The government said Egypt would abandon its zero-tolerance approach and fall into line with United Nations-backed international standards that tolerate grain containing up to 0.05% ergot. The blight is dangerous in large doses but widely tolerated in trace amounts. Traders said that it is nearly impossible to guarantee a shipment is entirely ergot-free.

“The zero-tolerance policy resulted in 540,000 tons of wheat imports being suspended, according to the government.

“Shipments that had been rejected are now expected to be approved for import, a spokesman for Egypt’s supply ministry said.”

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