Lebanon’s Agriculture Ministry on Friday denied media reports that Israeli tomatoes on the Lebanese market were causing sickness and harm to local residents, The Daily Star reported.
The 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.
“Shipments of imported tomatoes haven’t entered the Lebanese market for one month and only local production is being consumed,” the ministry said in a statement.
“News about the presence of Israeli tomatoes in Lebanese markets is inaccurate,” it added.
The report came after similar reports disparaging 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, as well as checking existing stock in storage facilities.
The official Arab League boycott of Israel, in place since Israel’s independence in 1948, is maintained by the Central Boycott Office in Damascus.
However, on the ground, its enforcement has varied across the Arab world.
In an article last year in Middle East Economy by Yitzhak Gal from Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, he wrote that “Israel’s exports to Middle Eastern markets in 2011 are estimated at above $6 billion, about 13 percent of overall Israeli exports.”
Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Lebanon-denies-reports-that-imported-Israeli-tomatoes-causing-sickness-331010