Egypt, the most populous Arab country, has announced that it won’t allow any agricultural import or export of genetically modified (GM) foods, especially wheat, corn and soybeans, according to Checkbiotech. The decision was made after some Russian wheat was rejected for quality reasons; a political debate started in Egypt over food quality and safety, with Members of Parliament asking for stricter rules and greater agricultural self sufficiency. Egypt is one of the world’s largest importers of wheat.
Many were surprised by the move, since not only had Egypt approved the cultivation of GM corn last year, but some of Egypt’s main food imports included genetically modified products.
Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza announced in mid-August: "It is necessary that all crops imported from abroad and exported from Egypt are accompanied by a certificate from the country of origin stating they are free of genetically modified materials," prohibiting “the entry of any imports, especially wheat, corn and soya beans until samples of the cargo have been examined … in the absence of a certificate.”