Egypt has reinstated its zero tolerance policy on ergot fungus in wheat shipments, according to Egypt’s agriculture ministry. Pro Farmer reports Egypt announced the reinstated policy over the weekend. In July, Egypt adopted the international standard that allows up to 0.05 percent of ergot in imported wheat shipments, following a risk assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization that concluded the fungus poses no threat to the country. But a new study commissioned by Egypt’s government claims ergot would pose a threat to the nation’s domestic wheat supply. The move back to a zero tolerance policy on ergot in wheat shipments means fewer suppliers will participate in Egyptian tenders. Earlier this year, Egypt turned away wheat shipments that contained ergot, but met international standards for contamination. Egypt is the world’s biggest buyer of wheat.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
Image credit: Wheat spikes infected with ergot (Claviceps purpurea). As the spike matures, kernels of infected florets are replaced by brown to purplish black fungal structures (sclerotia or “ergot bodies”). These can reach 20 mm in length.
For more information, see CIMMYT’s Wheat Doctor: http://wheatdoctor.cimmyt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=101&Itemid=43&lang=en.