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Egypt eases fungus ban on wheat imports after seller outrage

Posted September 21

— Egypt has lifted a ban on even trace amounts of fungus in its wheat imports, after sellers enraged by Cairo's demands boycotted tenders, threatening the supply of the world's largest importer of the grain.

Wednesday's announcement by the Cabinet reinstates rules allowing imported wheat cargoes to contain up to 0.05 percent of ergot, a common fungus that is harmless in such amounts, in line with global standards.

Egyptian officials vacillated over the issue this past year, sometimes allowing imports to contain the harmless traces and other times insisting on an all-out ban and rejecting some ships. The move sowed confusion in the markets.

The Cabinet says it's hiring a specialized international firm to check imported wheat's compliance.

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