Egypt asks EU to cancel ban on seed exports

Egypt has asked the European Commission's office in Cairo to work on cancelling a recent ban imposed on Egyptian seed exports to Europe in the wake of an E. coli outbreak.

The EU imposed an embargo Tuesday on Egyptian seeds after announcing that fenugreek imported from Egypt was the most likely common cause behind the E. coli infection that started in Germany and has infected more than 4000 people.

The virus has claimed the lives of about 50 people since early June.

Egypt's Agriculture, Trade, Industry, and Foreign Affairs ministries said in a statement following a recent meeting that they are ready to resume discussions with Europe and recieve an EU expert team to test local seeds.

Egypt informed the EU's office in Cairo of its disappointment with the ban, saying the unilateral decision lacked scientific and technical bases, and ignored analyses from Egyptian and European labs.

Egypt also said that the embargo is at odds with its partnership agreement with Europe.

The ban damages Egypt’s agricultural export reputation and hurts the country’s economy at a time when it is facing several challenges, according to the statement.

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