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Egypt reinstates 0.05pct tolerance of ergot fungus in wheat

Egypt’s reversed on Wednesday its zero-tolerance decision for wheat imports containing ergot fungus, to reinstating a 0.05 percent tolerance policy, which is a widely applied international standard, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported citing the agriculture minister.

In August, the minister Essam Fayed issued a decision to not allow any imported wheat shipment that contains any traces of the fungus.

The government said on Wednesday that the zero-tolerance policy has led to the delay in arrival of 540,000 tonnes of the imported grain to Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, Al-Ahram said.

The Egyptian minister of health Ahmed Emad said today that the imported wheat has been undergoing a purification process that reduces the presence of the fungus to zero percent.

Since February, confusion between the state’s grain buyer GASC and the agricultural authorities over levels of the fungus caused weariness among suppliers, drivig some of them to boycott tenders.

Egypt's wheat imports for the 2015/16 marketing year were estimated at 11 million tonnes, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed in October 2015, "about the same as the previous year and the average for the last five years."

ahram - 21, Sep 2016