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Chairman David Scott and Agriculture Appropriations Chair Sanford Bishop send Letter to USTR Regarding EU Trade Barriers for Peanuts

WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Chair Sanford Bishop sent the following letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai in regard to European non-tariff trade barriers impacting peanuts. The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Ambassador Tai,

As House agricultural leaders and Representatives of the nation's top peanut growing state, Georgia, we must bring an important trade issue concerning a non-tariff trade barrier related to peanuts to your attention. As you may already be aware, the European Union (EU) has imposed extraneous aflatoxin testing in peanuts, which has been affecting American peanut farmers and the entire U.S. peanut industry.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring contaminant that affects a variety of crops, including peanuts. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a maximum threshold for aflatoxin of 15 parts per billion for raw peanuts and 20 parts per billion for peanut products, based on the appropriate toxicological data, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) performs rigorous testing on peanuts for quality and safety. We are strong supporters of science and believe that science and regard for the public health should guide our regulatory principles when it comes to food safety. Through their rigorous testing and grading processes, the USDA and American peanut farmers demonstrate that they follow those same principles and are committed to producing high-quality peanuts that can be consumed safely.

Unfortunately, the EU enforces an extra level of testing at European ports and maintains thresholds for aflatoxin that range from as low as 2 parts per billion to 15 parts per billion. From what was once a top peanut export market, the U.S. industry estimates approximately $170 million in lost sales in recent years, because of Europe's arduous testing imposed upon American peanut imports. Losses at a similar rate will continue unless a resolution is negotiated to alleviate the superfluous testing creating this barrier.

Your recent success resolving the aircraft tariff dispute was commendable, and the resolution of that dispute was a welcome sign to America's farmers. We encourage you to build on that good faith by working with your European counterparts to resolve this issue and help our peanut farmers.

Please let us know how we may support you in this endeavor. Thank you for your continued support for American farmers and for your consideration of this request.


David Scott

Sanford D. Bishop Jr.

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