Food Standards Agency
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Import ban on produce from Egypt extended

The European Union (EU) has extended the ban on selected Egyptian seeds and beans, which was imposed following the deadly E.coli outbreaks in Europe earlier this year.

The ban was set to expire on 31 October 2011. However, the European Commission has extended the ban until 31 March 2012, due to the inefficiency of the procedures taken by Egyptian authorities to ensure the integrity of grain and plant exports.

The ban will remain on items including rocket sprouts, sprouts of leguminous vegetables (fresh or chilled), soya bean sprouts, dried (shelled) leguminous vegetables, fenugreek seeds, soya beans and mustard seeds.

Imports of fresh and chilled peas and beans will be allowed, as the EU ban on these items was lifted in October.

Seeds and beans from Egypt that are prohibited from being circulated freely in the EU until 31 March 2012 are:

  • rocket sprouts
  • beetroot sprouts, radish sprouts
  • sprouts of leguminous vegetables, fresh or chilled
  • soya bean sprouts
  • dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not skinned or split
  • fenugreek seed
  • soya beans, whether or not broken
  • mustard seeds
  • other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or not broken
  • sugar beet seed
  • lucerne (alfalfa) seed
  • vegetable seeds
  • lucerne (alfalfa) sprouts

In July, the European Commission announced an emergency ban on the import of fenugreek and certain seeds, sprouted seeds and beans imported from Egypt until 31 October 2011, following the two outbreaks of E.coli O104 in Germany and France.