European Union (EU) has extended its ban on importation of dried beans from Nigeria by three years. Vincent Isegbe, coordinator, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), said on Thursday.
The European Food Safety Authority, while banning beans exports from Nigeria last year, said that they contained unacceptable dichlorvos pesticide levels of 0.03mg per kilogramme to 4.6mg/kg. By EU standards, it exceeds the acceptable maximum residue limit of 0.01mg/kg.
Dichlorvos is considered to be highly toxic, which can cause difficulty in breathing, diarrhoea, vomiting, convulsions, and dizziness, among others. Like many organophosphate (OP) insecticides, it also inhibits the enzyme cholinesterase, which results in disruption to the nervous and muscular system.
Isegbe, however, said the extension came when the Federal Government, and its relevant agencies were working to ensure that the June deadline to lift the ban was met.
He quoted the official journal of the EU, as accusing Nigeria of not doing enough to lift the ban during the period of suspension.
“The continued presence of dichlorvos (pesticide) in dried beans imported from Nigeria and maximum residue levels of pesticides shows that compliance with food law requirement as regards pesticide residual cannot be achieved in the short term.
“The duration of the importation prohibition should therefore be extended for an additional period of three years to allow Nigeria implement the appropriate risk-management measure and provide required guarantees,” Isegbe said, quoting the EU official journal.