United Arab Emirates yesterday banned the import of fresh fruits and vegetables. The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) said in a statement that it has banned the imports of fresh vegetables and fruits from Kerala.
It further said the decision is based on the information received and published on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website regarding the outbreak of NiV infection in Kerala.
Brain damaging Niv has led to death of 10 people in south.
The main host of the disease is the fruit bat, where the virus is transmitted through secretions from the bat to the fruit that it feeds on or touches. Infection occurs through direct contact with infected bats, animals or other people, or through consuming fruit or unpasteurised fruit juice that has been contaminated by bats.
The ministry issued a circular to local food control authorities and municipalities across the emirates to prevent the entry of all kinds of produce from that region.
Advice for people purchasing fruit and vegetables in the UAE:
- Make sure that the fruits are ripe, fresh and non-withered, wet, colour-changed or overripe
- Before eating fruit, make sure that there are no visible defects on them, such as pest infections, cuts, dirt or deformities
- Make sure that the fruits are free from any strange smell or taste
- The package should not contain any damaged fruit
- Wash fresh vegetables and fruits well before eating them
- Do not consume juices unless you confirm the source
The ban does not mean these items will not be available to the people.
“We’ve replaced them with alternatives provided by the local market and other counties such as Sri Lanka, Oman and other parts of India,” said CK Mugundan, the manager of Al Manama supermarket in Fujairah.
“Vegetables such as drumsticks, red pumpkins, ash gourd, okra and fruits such as bananas, which are all imported from Kerala, were removed and replaced with the same items but from different countries”
“The prices are the same and sometimes cheaper, depending on the country that it came from, all the items are available and the customers will not be affected by the ban,” he added.