BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian public health officials have destroyed 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds) of Egyptian potatoes after tests showed they had brown rot disease.
The agriculture ministry said Tuesday that the contaminated potatoes were shipped to Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta from Egypt. Laboratory tests confirmed they had the disease, which can contaminate water and soil.
The ministry said there is no "chemical or biological method" to eradicate "this damaging organism," and that tainted potatoes could have had an "extremely severe" economic impact if they infest water supplies.
It said authorities were exercising extra vigilance in protecting the European Union member from other tainted vegetables and plants.
The National Statistics Institute says 8,000 tons (7,257 metric tons) of potatoes were imported from Egypt in 2017, a sharp increase from the previous year.