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.


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.