Qatar, Saudi Arabia Ban Beef Imports from European Union
Qatar and Saudi Arabia banned beef imports from the European Union for fear of mad cow disease, according to press reports.
An official at the Qatari ministry of agriculture told the Gulf Times newspaper on Monday that the decision came amid reports that imported meat might have carried the disease. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not elaborate on the ban.
No figures on the volume of imports from the EU were immediately available, said the paper.
Doha, meanwhile, urged the rest of the Gulf countries to reach a consensus on meat imports in the light of the several health scares, said the paper, quoting a health ministry official.
He said Qatar had sent a letter to the five other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries calling for "a meeting to discuss the issue in detail and take a joint decision."
The report said that Qatar currently imports meat only from Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Saudi Arabia, in the meantime, announced Sunday the ban on EU beef and mutton imports amid mounting public concerns over the spread of the disease, said the paper.
Another Gulf country, the UAE, banned last month importing meat from the EU, reported the Al-Khaleej Times newspaper.
According to officials, the UAE imports over 2,500 tons of frozen, chilled meat and meat products every month from different countries, including India, Pakistan and Australia, said the paper -- (Several Sources)