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EU BAN ON EYGPTIAN PEANUTS IMPORTS
Peanuts are an
important agricultural crop for
In the 1999/2000 season
The EU Commission, by Council Regulation 194/97, set the level of aflatoxins permitted in peanuts. The regulations provide that the level of B1 cannot exceed 2 parts per billion and the level of B1+B2+G1+G2 cannot exceed 4 parts per billion. This regulations was amended by Commission Regulation No. 1525 /98 of 16 July 1998 which set the following maximum admissible aflatoxin levels in various nuts, grounds, dried fruits and products thereof intended for human consumption:
Nuts, groundnuts, dried fruits and processed products:
Groundnuts subject to sorting or other physical treatment:
Nuts and dried fruit subject to sorting or other physical
The levels put in place
by regulation 1525/98 were continued in effect from April 2002 by
regulation No. 466/2001. Commission
Directive 98/53/EC of
EU has instituted the Rapid Alert System for Food (RASFF) -- a special
system to notify when contaminants in imported food exceed permitted
levels. In 1999 many RASFF
alerts lead the Commission to impose a temporary ban on the import of
The suspension was put
in place by Council Decision 1999/356/EC of
The Food and Veterinary
Office (FVO) of the EU Commission is responsible for ensuring that every
product that enters the EU is safe for human consumption.
The office is under the Health and Consumer Protection
Directorate-General of the EU Commission.
Competent authorities in EU member states are responsible for
carrying out the inspections of imports and ensuring compliance with the
In order to ensure that
the Egypt complied with the EU Commission’s requirements, the Egyptian
Ministries of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) and Ministry of
Foreign Trade (MOFT) issued Ministerial Decree No. 2/2000 which covers
all stages of production, processing, sampling and exporting peanuts.
In particular, the decree provides --
Article (2) exporters who violate the rules will be suspended for 1 year
Article (3): effective date and publication and dissemination of requirements.
The decree also
establishes the legal limit for aflatoxin in peanuts in both the
domestic and EU export markets. In
the Egyptian domestic market the legal limit is 5 mg/kg aflatoxin B1
content and 10 mg/kg total aflatoxin content.
For the EU market, the legal limits 2 mg/kg aflatoxin in B1
content and 4 mg/kg total aflatoxin content.
The decree specifics the sampling procedures that must be
followed for export certification.
A number of Egyptian
agencies are involved in the production and export of peanuts and
aflatoxin control. MALR is
the main Egyptian Ministry with overall responsible for supervising the
production, consumption and export of agricultural products and
preventing aflatoxin from contaminating peanuts.
The Central Administration for Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) is the
coordinating authority within MALR with respect peanut production and
export and aflatoxin control. The
head of CAPQ is the key person in the management of aflatoxin control
and the main contact with the EU regarding aflatoxin control.
The Regional Plant Quarantine Service has 14 regional offices in
Egypt, including offices at the main ports for imports and exports.
The regional office are involved in supervising the productions,
processing and export of agricultural products, including peanuts, and
in advising industry, inspecting premises and taking samples required
for export procedures.
Research Center (ARC) is funded by MALR and has undertaken many research
projects relating to aflatoxin prevention in peanuts, including some
joint research projects with the EC.
The Ministry of Foreign
Trade (MOFT) is responsible for promoting exports and ensuring
compliance with export procedures. MOFT
has joint programs with the EC and receives budgetary support from the
EU to support activities in the trade area.
Commodity Council is a private sector organization with fee-paying
members who promote Egyptian agricultural exports.
It has a committee for Peanuts and Dried foods, which represents
both producer and exporter interests; the Council is also composed of
government and scientific institution representatives.
The Customs Service is
responsible for making visual and documentary checks on consignments for
export. Customs uses a
unique numbered seal, and may visit the premises of exporters to
facilitate their verification responsibilities.
In September of 2001 the FVO sent a mission to Egypt to assess compliance with its certification system requirements imposed by Commission Decision 2000/49/EC. The missions made a number of recommendations on steps Egypt should take to improve the control system of foodstuffs intended for export to the EU. At the same time the report recommended that the EU Commission should consider taking steps to remove requirements for the systematic examination for aflatoxin of all consignments of peanuts from Egypt. However, the certification and related analysis undertaken by the Egyptian authorities should be retained and EU member states should undertake some random analysis. In response to the Mission’s recommendations, the Egypt authorities said that they were taking actions to address the Mission’s recommendation.
 The fed Dane is the unit of area used in Egypt and is equivalent to 4, 200(?) meters; it is comparable to an acre (approximately a hectare).
 Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced by certain species of Aspergillas, which develop at high temperatures and humidity levels and may be present in a large number of foods. The aflatoxins group includes a number of compounds of varying toxicity and frequency in food. Aflatoxin B1 is the most toxic compound. For safety reasons, it is advisable to limit both the total aflatoxin content (compounds B1, B2, G1 and G2) of food and flatoxin B1 content. Maximum limits for aflatoxins in food were fixed in legislation taking into account know possible effects of sorting, mixing or of other physical treatment methods to reduce the aflatoxin content of peanuts. (Source Food and Veterinary Office Report cited in footnote 9 below.)
 WTO document G/SPS/N/EEC/51 of 8 January 1998.
 WTO document G/SPS/GEN/98 of 14 October 1998
 International Agency for Research on Cancer.
 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.
 Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants; Thirty-first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives; WHO Technical Report Series 759, WHO, Geneva, 1987.
 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Forty-ninth meeting, Rome, 17-26 June f1997, Summary and Conclusions, enclosed section.
 Commission of the European Communities, health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General, Directorate F-Food and Veterinary Office “Final Report of a Mission Carried out in Egypt from 2nd to 6th of September 200 to Assess the Facilities and Measures in Place for the Determination of Aflatoxin Levels in Peanuts Intended for Export into the European Union” DG (SANCO)/3392/2001 –MR Final. 27/11/02.