I’ve been contacted by quite a few people regarding a potential ban on basmati rice being imported from India into the EU.

I’ve issued the following press press release about it for the media.

The story about basmati rice has been picked up by The Sunday Telegraph  and the Express as you can see in the following article.

Kamall intervenes over EU’s curry rice ban

Leading MEP Syed Kamall is calling on the EU Commission to show restraint and flexibility after he discovered it was set to ban imports of Basmati rice from India.Curry lovers face a severe shortage of their favourite rice if the ban goes ahead, and India’s rice-growing industry will be devastated.

An new EU regulation affecting Basmati rice will slash the allowable traces of a widely-used fungicide from one milligram to 0.01 milligram per kilo. In Japan and the USA the safe level is set at 3 milligrams.

Taking force at the end of the year, it effectively means an overnight ban on Basmati from India, which supplies 80 per cent of imports to the EU and produces 60 per cent of the world’s total crop.

India is arguing that the new thresholds for the fungicide Tricyclazole, used to combat rice blast disease, are too extreme compared with other markets. The sudden ban would deny farmers time to adapt their production techniques, which they say will take two to three harvests.

Some 360,000 metric tonnes of Basmati rice are imported by the EU each year and 150,000 tonnes comes to Britain.

In a letter to the relevant Commissioners for Farming, Environment and Trade (attached) Dr Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, argues that the ban was decided before a full range of tests on the fungicide was completed. He urges them to delay implementation of the new rules to allow farmers time to adapt.

Dr Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, said: “You don’t need a PhD in business and economics to realise that if you ban imports from a country that grows 60 per cent of the world’s basmati rice, the price will go up.

“This could have a disastrous effect on farmers’ livelihoods in India – and at the same time we in Britain will end up paying more for our
favourite rice.

“I am calling on the Commission to delay implementation of this order to give the Indians time to make their crop comply, especially since no-one is seriously claiming that Indian basmati rice had suddenly become unsafe to eat.

“Like most Brits I love a curry – and I like it with basmati rice. Nothing else is as aromatic and tasty. I don’t really think we need the EU banning imports because of scientific measurements rather than any overnight health concerns.”

My press release was also picked up by the following media outlets:

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