Egypt rejects French wheat shipment for excessive levels of ergot fungus

Daily News Egypt
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Egypt has rejected a French wheat shipment for because of higher-than-acceptable levels of grain ergot fungus, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing trade sources.

According to the Codex Alimentarius, a joint Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization guide, the accepted world standard was set at 0.05% as the maximum acceptable level of ergot in wheat for human consumption.

The vessel containing the 63,000 tonnes French wheat shipment has been at Egypt’s Red Sea port of Safaga and negotiations were underway to resolve the matter, according to Reuters, citing a source explaining that the shipment had 0.1% ergot level, while the acceptable level is 0.05%.

In 2018, a report by Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture said that Egypt has imported 10.1m tonnes of wheat from nine countries in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer.  The wheat imports in fiscal year (FY) 2016/17 are estimated at 11.5m tonnes—about the same as the previous year—and about 1m above average for the last five years.

Russia, is the largest wheat exporter to the country, followed by Ukraine.

Egypt cultivates nearly 3m tonnes of wheat annually but consumes between 13-16m tonnes of wheat annually.

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