Hot pepper powder worth ten million USD has been returned to Ethiopia from European markets when it was found to have unsafe levels of Aflatoxins and Ochratoxins during testing at entrance laboratories in European countries.
Ethiopian hot pepper was banned in the UK last fiscal year until it could successfully pass quality control tests and the Ethiopian Embassy in London began working jointly with hot pepper importers to improve the product. Germany also blocked a large amount of hot pepper from entering their borders.
Stakeholders told Capital that since 2016 a huge amount of exported hot pepper was returned from Europe to Ethiopia. Europe is a major destination for Ethiopian spice and hot pepper is the spice that Ethiopia exports the most.
Since the problem came to the attention of exporters the Ethiopian Spice, Aromatic and Herbs Growers and Processors Association (ESAHGPA) has been scrambling to tackle the problem in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and its diplomatic missions in Europe.