France to rerun DDT test on Ukrainian wheat import
PARIS - French authorities will conduct formal new tests on Ukrainian wheat suspected of containing the banned pesticide DDT, the company for which the wheat was imported said on Saturday.
National cereals office ONIC said last Wednesday that traces of the banned pesticide DDT had been found in a cargo of 25,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat shipped to Brittany in France last month. Kiev insisted the chemical was no longer used in Ukraine.
France\'s largest animal feed maker, Glon-Sanders, the grain\'s intended recipient, said in a statement on Saturday the local Morbihan prefecture in Brittany had ordered fresh tests.
\"The sample that is suspected of being contaminated was taken without witnesses, notice, or documentation,\" it said.
It added that the parties involved had not been present and the sample had not been representative of the merchandise.
\"Accordingly, the prefecture authorities have ordered official sampling, in the presence of the parties involved,\" it said.
Results of the new tests are expected on December 17.
Imports of Ukrainian wheat are a controversial issue in Europe, where they have undercut domestic prices and taken market share from French and British grain.
After French authorities announced the presence of DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) in the cargo from the Ukrainian port of Yuzhny, world grain importers went on alert.
The potential impact on Ukrainian exports was increased by reports that Canada had suspended its purchases after finding grain diseases, flag smut and dwarf bunt, in three shipments.
Ukraine, which has stepped up its wheat supplies to world markets at a time when key growers such as Australia, Canada and the United States are suffering from drought, accused others of scaremongering and trade protectionism.
\"It looks like a policy aimed at excluding Ukraine from the world grain market,\" Ivan Martynyuk, head of the Agriculture Ministry\'s grain department, told Reuters.
DDT was banned in France in 1987 and controls at animal feed makers in Europe have been tightened after the dioxin poisoning scandal in Belgium in 1999 which sparked a global food scare.
The report of the contamination comes as the European Commission unveiled its plans to curb the rising tide of imports from the Black Sea region by establishing annual quotas.
France, the EU\'s premier wheat grower, has remained largely free of Ukrainian imports - the cargo allegedly containing the DDT was only the second ever to arrive in France.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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