Lebanese ministry denies reports that imported Israeli tomatoes cause sickness

Lebanese Agriculture Ministry responds to media reports of tomatoes injected with cancer cells, according to 'Daily Star'.

November 8, 2013 18:50
1 minute read.

Tomatoes 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Lebanon’s Agriculture Ministry on Friday denied reports that Israeli tomatoes were making Lebanese sick.

The Beirut-bases Daily Star quoted the ministry as saying it was responding to reports that Israeli tomatoes were causing vomiting and fatigue, and were injected with cancerous cells.

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“Shipments of imported tomatoes haven’t entered the Lebanese market for one month and only local production is being consumed,” the ministry said.

“News about the presence of Israeli tomatoes in Lebanese markets is inaccurate,” it added.

The report came after reports disparaged Israeli tomatoes in the Egyptian press this week.

The Egyptian government launched an investigation to check if Israeli tomatoes contained solanine, a chemical harmful to the liver, following a report in the Egyptian daily Al- Ahram, the Star reported.

The Lebanese Agriculture Ministry said that it regularly monitors imports, and checks stocks in storage facilities.

The Arab League boycott of Israel, in place since 1948, is maintained by the Central Boycott Office in Damascus.

However, its enforcement varies across the Arab world.

In an article last year in Middle East Economy, Yitzhak Gal, from Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, wrote that “Israel’s exports to Middle Eastern markets in 2011 are estimated at over $6 billion, about 13 percent of overall Israeli exports.”

Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.

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