Importing agricultural products contaminated by the E. coli virus have been temporarily prevented by Saudi Arabia. “The import ban comes into effect Wednesday, adding that it would continue until the source of the virus becomes clear” said minister of agriculture Fahd Balghunaim. Jabir Al-Shahri, assistant deputy minister for livestock affairs, mentioned “The ban was imposed on the basis of information received from the EU, WHO and the European Center for Disease Control”. E. coli infected cucumbers which discovered in European countries last week have not entered the Kingdom, as Balghunaim announced.
He commented “Due to strict measures taken at the ports no infected produce has been allowed to pass into the Saudi market”. According to the minister, Saudi Arabia imports some vegetables from Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan, but produces 85% of cucumbers in the market. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is responsible for preventing the entry of food products with questionable safety, as Balghunaim stressed.