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Saudi Arabia considering ban on fodder import from Europe
Riyadh,19th March 2001

  Concerned agencies are considering enforcement of a ban on the import of cattle feed, especially barley and pulses, from Europe as a precautionary measure against the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease which is wreaking havoc in European countries. Arab countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have already taken such measures.

The move will, however, be against the interests of the cattle feed exporters to the Kingdom which is the largest market for the manufacturers in the European Union countries.

The steps are likely to affect the European barley export in general during the coming weeks as a number of other importing countries are also expected to enforce a ban on European cattle feed, particularly after a warning by the Food and Agriculture Organization that the disease can be contracted through the cattle feed coming from countries where the disease is present.

The Saudi move is likely to have some negative reflections on the international barley stocks as the Kingdom is the largest importer of the cattle feed which reached eight million tons in 1988. However, the imports came down to five million tons in later years.

The authorities, following the detection of two cases in Yanbu in the Madinah province, have mobilized all resources to contain FMD which poses a grave threat to the cattle wealth in the Kingdom.

As a pre-emptive measure against further escalation of the disease, the authorities have banned import of cattle from Iran, India, Taiwan and Argentina, a new source for beef.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates, which reportedly serves as a transit point for export of banned animals to the Kingdom in addition to Lebanon, Turkey and EU countries, have also been on the ban list.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water has started intensive checking for disease-carrying animals in sheep markets and farms in various parts of the country. The ministry is working in conjunction with the customs department and quality control laboratories under the Ministry of Commerce not to allow any consignment of meat or its derivatives coming from any of the countries which have mad cow or FMD.

The laboratory tests of the consignments are to be expanded and the accompanying documents have to be scrutinized particularly from countries in the ban list as well as their neighboring countries which are likely to involve in the re-export of contaminated meat.

Steps have also been taken to inform the ministry of any suspected cases arriving at the entry points and also to conduct daily checks at meat outlets and slaughtering houses.

Source: Arab News

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19 March 2001 04:49:19 PM

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