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Saudi Arabia expands beef, mutton import ban
Riyadh, 2ed Apr 2001

  Saudi Arabia has extended a ban on beef and mutton imports to include several Arab, African and Asian states to prevent a spread of foot-and-mouth disease to the kingdom. A trade circular issued by the Saudi Trade Ministry and obtained by Reuters yesterday said the temporary ban covered all mutton and beef products from Gulf Arab and African states, in addition to Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Pakistan and China.

The circular said the decision was taken in light of reports by the International Epizootic Office (OIE) - the world's animal health organization - and recent media reports on cases of foot-and-mouth in several countries. Saudi Arabia, the biggest market in the Gulf region, banned imports of beef and mutton from Turkey and Lebanon last month due to concerns over the disease, which is not harmful to humans but can cause severe weight loss in livestock.

Agriculture Minister Abdullah bin Muammar said last month that more than 2,417 cases of foot-and-mouth disease had been detected in different parts of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia banned imports of beef and mutton from European Union countries in January to pre-empt any entry of -cow disease. Saudi Arabia imports about two-thirds of its beef requirement, estimated at 100,000 tonnes in 1999.

Source: Gulf News©

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