Russia’s sanitary watchdog banned on Wednesday imports of several kinds of seeds and sprouts from Egypt after experts discovered that the E. Coli bacteria that hit Europe originated in the North African county.
“Additional data that we have received provides us with grounds to ban produce from Egypt,” Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Gennady Onishenko, told journalists in Moscow.
He specified that the ban affected seeds and sprouts of beans, beet, arugula, buckwheat and mustard.
The European Food Safety Authority's task force said on Tuesday that one batch of fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt was the most likely common link between an E. coli bacteria outbreak in Europe, which has killed more than 50 people and infected over 4,000 in 16 countries.
Following the announcement, the European Commission imposed a temporary ban on imports of "certain types" of seeds from Egypt, which will remain in place until October 31. Egypt has denied any link to the E. Coli outbreak.
The first cases of an E. coli strain were reported in Germany two months ago. Russia introduced an embargo on vegetable imports from Europe in early June, but the ban was lifted later in the month.
Russian-Egyptian trade turnover reached $1.997 billion in January-October 2010. A total of 87 percent of Russia’s imports from Egypt accounted for vegetables last year.