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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

UAE ban on Jordanian fruit and vegetables lifted

Jordanian companies will be able to ship produce to the UAE - as long as their goods pass strict tests proving they carry no residue of pesticide.

A ban on the import of vegetables from Jordan that was sparked by concerns over high levels of pesticides has been lifted, the UAE environment ministry has said.

Jordanian companies will be able to ship produce to the UAE - as long as their goods pass strict tests proving they carry no residue of pesticide.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said on Thursday that Jordanian government labs would issue certificates showing products were safe to eat.

In May, the UAE banned a number of products from Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen amid concerns over what was sprayed on them.

Jordan was told it could not export pepper, cabbage, lettuce, squash, beans, eggplant and flowers to the UAE.

The announcement came following the visit of Dr Al Zeyoudi to the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture. His Excellency Dr Khalid Hanifat, Jordanian Minister of Agriculture, where he was briefed on measures to ensure food does not carry pesticide residue.

If any pesticide residue is found on a fruit or vegetable in an amount higher than the permitted limit, that company will be banned from importing the produce for three months.

When the ban was announced, food distributors predicted a substantial spike in the cost of food, though the arrival of Ramadan price freezes is thought to have negated that.

Food experts said at the time that pesticide residue is a significant public health concern.

“It’s a big risk to consume vegetables, especially leafy greens, with a high dose of pesticides because we are consuming chemicals,” Basem Azzam, quality director at Taylor Shannon International, a food safety consultancy, said at the time.

“Those that have a peel like watermelons aren’t at risk because we don’t eat the peel, but others, like apples, are, so we should not eat such contaminated produce.”

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