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Egyptian government hits back at zero ergot policy on wheat imports

London — Egypt's government filed a legal complaint against a court ruling applying zero ergot policy on wheat imports, the country's Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade said Tuesday.

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The ruling was issued by Egypt's Federal court November 14 and aims to ban all wheat imports containing the common grain fungus ergot.

The government will retain an ergot tolerance of 0.05% in wheat imports, a common international standard, while the complaint is considered, a supply ministry spokesman said.

A ban on wheat imports containing the ergot fungus was also imposed by Egypt last year and was followed by a boycott of Egypt's wheat tenders by major international wheat suppliers. Egypt was forced to adopt a 0.05% ergot tolerance level.

If the ban is implemented, it would lead to a lack of wheat supply and high premiums on wheat imports.

It is almost impossible to guarantee zero ergot, traders said, and it would force sellers to raise prices when participating in Egypt's tenders.

"We will also have to account for the added risk of cargo rejection," trader said.

--Sofia Likhacheva, sofia.Likhacheva@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com