EC under fire after Egyptian ban

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has welcomed the European Commission’s lifting of the ban on certain Egyptian fresh produce, just in time for new season imports of fresh peas and beans.

However, FPC has criticised the commission for its “frustrating lack of knowledge of the industry and tardiness in recognising its costly error”.

The EC last week published an amended regulation, lifting the ban imposed on 7 July on imports of certain fresh produce from Egypt following the E. coli outbreaks in Germany and France.

FPC CEO Nigel Jenney said: “This ridiculous and unnecessary ban jeopardised the viability of fresh produce businesses trading in Egypt and the UK. It has taken weeks of intensive lobbying to get the Commission to correct its costly, yet there will be no apology or compensation offered to those companies affected. It’s just business as usual for the bureaucrats at the Commission, which has shown a complete lack of understanding of the fresh produce industry.

“It’s vital that we look to restore public confidence in all fresh produce. FPC is seeking views from its members currently on a proposed bid for EU funding to support a major promotional campaign for UK fresh produce in the EU, and we’d like to hear from those interested in supporting such a bid.”