The back and forth policy over ergot fungus contamination by Egypt continued this week, as Reuters says the nation has reversed its on-again-off-again zero tolerance policy in wheat imports. The international standard accepted level of contamination is .05 percent. The move represents a backtracking effort by Egypt, the world largest wheat importer. The policy effectively blocked access by Egypt to global wheat trade, as suppliers boycotted the policy. Wheat suppliers say zero contamination is “impossible to guarantee.” Ergot can cause hallucinations when consumed in large amounts but is considered harmless in low quantities. The government said it was reinstating a 0.05 percent tolerance level for ergot and was applying it to both outstanding and future wheat contracts. Russia, a top supplier of wheat to Egypt, banned Egyptian fruit and vegetable imports shortly after one of its cargoes destined for Egypt was rejected. A delegation from Egypt is expected to arrive in Russia next week to discuss the standoff.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.