US denies banning dates from Saudi Arabia

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it banned the import of dates from Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it banned the import of dates from Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 February 2020

US denies banning dates from Saudi Arabia

  • There has been no FDA ban on dates from Saudi Arabia, the administration told Arab News

RIYADH: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it banned the import of dates from Saudi Arabia, following media reports that it had done so earlier this week.

“There has been no FDA ban on dates from Saudi Arabia,” the administration told Arab News. The Saudi National Center for Palms & Dates (NCPD) also denied the reports.

The NCPD pointed out that reports published mentioned the finding of pesticide residues in date samples from a Saudi company dating back to 2009.

In a statement on Sunday, the NCPD said that the US FDA published on its website a list of all the companies “classified by country” which did not meet US standards.

It added that the FDA required companies to update their information with it as and when that changed.

Bashar Al-Quraya, deputy chairman of the Dates Committee of Al-Qassim Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News that the information did not come from reliable sources. “We did not see any real official statements,” he said.

The center stressed that they work with the relevant authorities to raise the level of date safety in general for products sold in local or export markets.

“Saudi Arabia is considered number one in date quality,” Al-Quraya said, adding that when they export dates to Germany and the UK, the entry procedures go very smoothly. “There are no problems and the procedures are very simple and clear.”

Al-Quraya also pointed out that for the last two months of growth before harvesting the crop, no pesticides are sprayed on Saudi dates, and the exported fruits are subjected to tests before shipping.

“The rumors did not affect the market. I am now at the food fair in Dubai, there is a great demand for Saudi dates from European countries,” he said.

“If there was a problem with our dates the news should come from the UK or Germany, as the number of dates we export (there) are much bigger than what we export to the US,” he added.


Saudi Arabia’s ‘Awdah’ initiative helps over 12,790 expats return home

Updated 04 June 2020

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Awdah’ initiative helps over 12,790 expats return home

  • Residents with exit and re-entry visas, final exit visas and individuals with visit visas are eligible for the service
  • People can register through the Absher platform

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s initiative Awdah helped 12,798 expatriates return home amid the coronavirus travel bans, state news agency SPA reported.
The program, which means return in Arabic, was launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help stranded expats return to their home countries and received a total of 178,452 individual registrations between April 22 to June 3. Only those whose countries have agreed to receive them have been flown out.
Residents with exit and re-entry visas, final exit visas and individuals with visit visas are eligible for the service.
To register, a person must use the Absher platform to provide residency number, date of birth, phone number, city of departure and name of airport at home country, the report added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, the General Authority of Civil Aviation and other governmental organizations are working together to help stranded expats return home.