Egypt stops buffalo meat imports over pesticide concerns

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NEW DELHI: Egypt, the second largest market for Indian buffalo meat, has stopped imports because of concerns of having pesticide traces. The Indian embassy in Egypt has already taken up the issues with concerned authorities in Cairo, said the trade.

“In Egypt they have started a new testing pattern in which authorities had concerns that there are pesticide traces in Indian meat. This has led to delay in clearance of consignments, but we expect situation to improve with Indian government taking up this issue,” Fauzan Alavi, spokesperson of All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association, said.

Alavi said they have conveyed to Egyptian buyers and Indian government that Indian buffalo meat is organic in nature as no growth promoters and hormones are used unlike the practice in US and Brazil.

“Egypt started rejecting Indian consignments in the last few days as they changed rules on pesticide levels in the meat. We have contested it and expect government to resolve the issue,” said Afzal Latif, CEO of AL Proteins from Mumbai.

Egypt remains a big market for us after Vietnam and demand was picking up, said Latif. “We expected to cover up the losses after the lockdown opened and should be able to do so in the next few months. There are still a lot of contracts and deliveries to be made to Egypt and we expect things will be resolved, ” he said.

Industry people said that there was also demand by Egyptian importers to send 5% of veal meat in each container of shipment. Veal is meat from buffallo that is less than three months old and weighs 40-50 kg.” We are also going to approach food Regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to guide us if this is possible as under the animal protection law, we can’t slaughter baby calves,” said an exporter from Delhi.

According to the industry association, buffalo meat and offal exports to Egypt were 31% down to 2,099 tonnes till 31 October compared to the previous year.

Overall Indian buffalo meat exports fell 18% from last year to 457,264 tonnes, worth around Rs 10,209 crore, in April- September 2020.

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