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.


Qiddiya awards SR10bn in contracts to help construct Riyadh mega project

Updated 23 min 50 sec ago

Qiddiya awards SR10bn in contracts to help construct Riyadh mega project

  • The funding will be backed by the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund

RIYADH: At least SR10 billion ($2.66 billion) worth of contracts will be awarded to various companies to speed up the construction of a mega entertainment and sports project in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the Qiddiya Investment Company announced on Thursday.

The funding will be backed by the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund.

The Qiddiya project includes a number of art, entertainment and sporting facilities, and is being built on a 334 square-kilometre site close to Riyadh.

Its construction forms part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program that aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy.

“We’ve awarded well over 1 billion riyal in contracts so far and that figure is going to jump, maybe ten times to 10 billion riyals, which will all be construction related contracts,” Michael Reininger, chief executive told The National.