MOROCCO – The ongoing clash between Spain and Morocco has intensified, attracting diplomatic tensions, with Moroccan entities contemplating lawsuits over potential harm to the country’s agricultural reputation.

Tensions reached a new high when the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System Feed and Food (RASFF) published a notice from Spain on March 4, revealing the detection of Hepatitis A in Moroccan strawberries.

This marked the second alert issued by Spain in 2023, the first being on February 14 concerning the detection of Norovirus genotype II in Moroccan strawberries.

In response to these allegations, Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture and its food safety agency, ONSSA, vehemently denied Spain’s claims regarding the safety of its strawberry exports.

The Ministry labeled the Hepatitis A alert as false, accusing Spain of attempting to tarnish the reputation of Moroccan agriculture.

They asserted their commitment to the highest safety standards and promptly initiated an investigation upon receiving the notice from Spain. ONSSA reported that its laboratory results came back negative for Hepatitis A.

“The Ministry reserves the right to take legal measures against the disseminators of this false information and to fight against the various sources that spread false rumors about our national agricultural products,” stated the Ministry on Sunday.

The Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture and Rural Development (COMADER) has now entered the fray, threatening legal action against Spain for its characterization of Moroccan strawberry exports.

There are reports suggesting that COMADER is investigating the alleged destruction of Moroccan strawberries in recent days by Spanish farmers.

This situation was a culmination of the violent boycott campaign against Moroccan agricultural exports to the European Union (EU) recently launched by Spanish farmers.

This campaign led to raids and vandalism targeting Moroccan vegetables, including tomatoes, by European farmers in Spain and France.

Spanish courts are now involved in investigating complaints filed by COMADER, which alleges that Spanish farmers have intentionally destroyed Moroccan goods on Moroccan trucks.

These incidents have not only caused significant disruptions, delays, and risks of spoilage for Moroccan agricultural exports but have also prompted COMADER to hire a French law firm to defend the affected parties. They believe legal action is essential to seek fairness and vindication.

Simultaneously, the Moroccan government is resorting to diplomatic channels to address the issue and prevent further obstruction of Moroccan agricultural exports to the EU.

The attacks on Moroccan goods are not only resulting in material losses but are also inflicting damage on Morocco’s reputation. Claims that Moroccan products are “unhealthy” and “banned” have added to the tension.

COMADER emphatically stresses that Moroccan agricultural products exported to the EU meet all legal standards and are of high quality.

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