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Tue 29 May 2018 04:14 PM

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UAE bans imports of Kerala fruit, veg following virus outbreak

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment also announces ban on animal products from South African province

UAE bans imports of Kerala fruit, veg following virus outbreak

The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has banned the imports of fruits and vegetables from Kerala, India and animal products from South Africa.

According to a press statement, all live animals - including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalos, camels, gazelles - and their non-heat-treated by-products from the Letsemeng province in South Africa have been banned.

The Ministry said that these measures reiterate its keenness to ensure healthy and safe food for consumers, enhance biosecurity levels, and eliminating pathogens before they enter the country.

It added that the Kerala ban comes after an outbreak of the Nipah virus in the Indian state. Preliminary information indicates that the primary host of the disease is the fruit bat, where the virus is transmitted through secretions from the bat to the fruit that it feeds on or touches. Mangoes, dates and bananas are the bat’s most preferred fruit.

The ministry said it has issued a circular to the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the municipalities of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah to prevent the entry of all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits from Kerala.

The decision to ban livestock from South Africa was based on a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health of the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever disease.

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