28 August 1997
Egypt tones down GM grain ban

INTENSE pressure from exporters has forced Egypt to modify a ban ordered last month on imports of genetically engineered grain.

That was the date from which imports of grain, soya beans and pulses had to be accompanied by a certificate from their country of origin proving they had not been genetically engineered.

The ban threatened widespread disruption to grain imports in what is one of the worlds biggest wheat importers. Egypt imports about 6 million tonnes of wheat worth US$1.3 billion (£808m) a year. About 4mt comes from the US, 1mt from Australia and the rest from France and Argentina.

Now non-genetically modified product no longer needs a certificate and genetically engineered products which have been safely introduced in their countries of origin can be exported uncertified.

The government retains the right to inspect consignments which it suspects may not be labelled correctly.

  • Financial Times 28/08/97 page 5