Far from causing a lack in grain supply, the Russo-Ukrainian war has apparently led to a glut of cheap grain arriving in European markets, and now several European countries are seeking to protect their domestic producers in response.
"Cheap Ukrainian grain has been flooding the EU market ... helped by the European Union waiving customs duties and import quotas to keep Ukraine's agricultural sector running," writes the Kyiv Independent. One corollary of the policy in support of Ukraine is the negative impact on farmers across Europe; another is a possible health danger posed by Ukrainian grain, as pesticides banned in the EU have been detected in significant amounts in Ukrainian produce.
Whether or not the pesticide issue is a convenient excuse, it has been cited by several European countries which have closed their borders to Ukrainian grain. Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland have all banned Ukrainian grain imports and other countries may follow suit.
In response, the European Union has stressed that individual countries are not at liberty to determine their policy vis-a-vis Ukrainian grain. "In such challenging times, it is crucial to coordinate and align all decisions within the EU," an EU spokesperson told Reuters. "It is important to underline that trade policy is of EU exclusive competence, and therefore, unilateral actions are not acceptable."
Israel National News contacted the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture to ask whether Israel will continue to import Ukrainian grain in light of the potential danger of banned pesticides, and was referred to the Health Ministry for a response.
A Health Ministry spokesperson said that the ministry is "keeping track of the European Union's instructions regarding grain from Ukraine."
"In the event those instructions change, the ministry will consider which steps to take."
"As a rule, all food imported to Israel, regardless of its place of origin, must adhere to Israeli food laws, which mirror European legislation, including regarding pesticide residues."