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South African importers of sought-after organic Zambian honey are clashing with the government over claims that questionable bee-disease test results have led to import bans. It is a claim the agricultural department and Agricultural Research Council dismiss, with both saying SA's testing is in line with international standards.Since 2018 the department has repeatedly banned imports of non-irradiated Zambian honey because of contagious American foulbrood (AFB) disease infestations.In February, the department's plant health division acting director, Maanda Rambauli, wrote to South African importers stating that only irradiated Zambian honey could be imported because of AFB detections. For honey to be declared organic and raw, it cannot be irradiated. Irradiation involves high temperature processes that destroy bacteria.AFB, which is deadly to bees but not harmful to humans, was first detected in SA in the Western Cape in 2009. The latest ban was first instituted in October, when the...

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