CAIRO, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture decided to ban agricultural imports from South Africa over the outbreak of deadly listeria bacteria in South African agricultural products, official MENA news agency reported Thursday.
The Egyptian ministry's Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine also banned issuing any import permits related to agricultural products from South Africa until further notice, and ordered to review all similar permits issued since early January.
It ordered a list of all cargos coming from South Africa this month to be reviewed and not to dispose of any of them before the health ministry's approval that they are listeria free and suitable for human consumption.
Egypt imports from South Africa grapes, cherries, pears, pineapples, coconuts and other vegetables and fruits in the off season, besides meat products.
Some 1,600 people get infected and 260 of them die every year because of eating food contaminated with listeria monocytogenes. Listeria could also cause fever, muscle pains and cramps as well as abortion for pregnant women. It most likely infects people with weak immune systems.