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Iran exports pistachios to 76 countries

TEHRAN, May 16 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran now exports pistachios to 76 countries, said an official with the country's Agricultural Jihad Ministry.

Speaking at a conference on new methods of pistachio production and processing, Gheibi stated that the European Union, which is the main buyer of Iranian pistachios, has reported about Iranian farmers' recent measures in hygienic production of pistachios.

"However, they are not completely satisfied with the quality of our pistachios."

The official noted that the only way to improve the quality of pistachios is to implement the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) program across the country. Iran is the first state through Middle East to start the HACCP program, according to Gheibi.

On the current aflatoxin level of the Iranian pistachios, Gheibi claimed that the level has shrunk to five parts per billion (PPB). That's while the EU applies some of the strictest regulations in the world on acceptable aflatoxin levels -- four parts per billion as opposed to 10-15 PPB in most other importers. Aflatoxin is a toxic factor produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, molds contaminating seedlings of peanut plants (Arachis hypogaea). Domestic fowl and other animals fed with infected peanut meal may die of aflatoxicosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or cholangiocarcinoma. It has also been implicated as a cause of human hepatic carcinoma.

The ministry official then projected this year's pistachio exports to reach 150,000 tons, putting the value of exports during the month of Farvardin at 32 million dollars.

... Payvand News - 5/18/06 ... --

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