Foot and mouth disease disrupts E.U. grain trade

by Emily Wilson
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The spread of foot and mouth disease in Europe has disrupted grain trade between the European Union and North African countries, according to a recent release from U.S. Wheat Associates.

George Galasso, USW regional director in North Africa, said that two vessels of English barley were refused discharge at Casablanca in early March.

"Morocco has indicated that it has not yet developed an official position on grain imports relevant to foot and mouth disease concerns," Galasso said. "They are now in consultations with U.K. and French officials. Nevertheless, in spite of the lack of an outright ban, officials are empowered to refuse vessel unloadings, creating a situation of unacceptable risk for traders in U.K. or French wheat."

Importers report that they are being required by Moroccan officials to prove and certify that any cereals from the U.K. were from areas free of foot and mouth disease and were transported in trucks or railcars which either did not pass through foot and mouth areas, or were disinfected before loading. Without such certification, vessels can't get authorization to unload.

Galasso said that Algeria was experiencing the same situation as Morocco. Although Algeria had not adopted an official position, Galasso said it appeared that traders were forced to assume unacceptable risk since phytosanitary officials had considerable leeway.