September 12, 2003



Saudi Ministry of Trade Not to Allow Brazilian Poultry with Antibiotic Nitrofuran in Saudi Arabia


It was reported on Sept 12 that Saudi Ministry of Trade has turned down a request, submitted by importers to allow shipments of poultry containing residues of banned antibiotic nitrofuran from Brazil to enter Saudi Arabia.


Importers grounded the request on reports that the residues were very small, between 0,000001 pct and 0,000004 pct. According to importers, in response to calls from the Ministry of Trade during the Iraq war, importers retained some 25 pct of foodstuffs stocks as emergency reserves, although their imports were held at the Saudi ports for laboratory inspection, which took more than two months, of which the importers had no prior knowledge.


This compelled the importers to provide cooling facilities to store meat. At present, importers call for shipments with small residues of nitrofuran to be allowed entry to the oil-rich kingdom, as nitrofuran has been used in various pharmaceutical products.


A number of importers have recently bought two lab units, worth 3.0 mln Saudi riyals ($800,000/714,000 euro) each for the trade ministry's labs in Jeddah and Riyadh. The move is expected to speed up samples' testing procedures.
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