Libya: Ministry of Trade Closely Monitoring Case of Tunisian Salt Deemed 'Non-Compliant' By Libya

Tunis/Tunisia — The Ministry of Trade and Export Development said Friday it is closely monitoring in coordination with the Ministry of Health data published on the non-compliance of Tunisian salt with health standards.

The Ministry, which was reacting to the call by the Libyan Food and Drug Control Centre to stop all imports of Tunisian salt to Libya, over non-compliance with health standards, said in a statement received by TAP the table salt manufactured in Tunisia for both the local market or export is subject to regulations setting its specificities and quality of its packaging.

The packaging of food salt requires prior authorisation from the Ministry of Health, notes the department, adding that it intends to coordinate with the Tunisian-Libyan focal point of the Libyan Centre for Standardisation and Metrology and the Tunisian National Institute of Standardisation and Industrial Property in order to have more details on this case.

The Libyan Food and Drug Control Centre (government structure) has called for a halt to all imports of Tunisian salt on Libyan territory during this period until the verification of its compliance with health standards. The call comes after a number of violations of standards was recorded, said the Libyan source.

The centre explained that a report by the Libyan food industries company "Chafia and salt extraction and manufacture company "Reafal for Salt" has revealed many violations in terms of specification standards, according to correspondence sent to the Tunisian-Libyan focal point under the center of standardisation.

Among the violations cited, is the non-compliance of the rate of iodine which is sometimes totally absent (in contradiction with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation) ..., which calls into question its quality in general, according to the same report.

There is also the non-conformity of salt with the rate of sodium chloride required for food salt, which rate must represent no less than 99%, because the white color does not mean that the salt is of high quality as it can be mixed with magnesium and calcium salts.

The correspondence sent to the Tunisian-Libyan focal point also referred to the quality of the packaging bag of salt made from recycled plastic which is not suitable for food packaging.

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