Vigorous lobbying by the Fresh Produce Consortium, the UK’s trade association for the fresh produce industry, and others has resulted in a last minute avoidance of draconian EU control measures on South African citrus imports to control the risk of Citrus Black Spot.

The EU Standing Committee on Plant Health’s decision was the result of months of deliberation and intensive lobbying by FPC and others to counter potentially extreme measures which could have halted UK imports of South African citrus.

“After so much effort FPC has helped to secure a more sensible outcome which we believe can be achieved by South African exporters. This will ensure that the UK can continue to import South African citrus,” said Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of FPC.

“We are deeply disappointed that there was insufficient support for the UK proposal for a derogation for citrus for processing.  The Commission failed to take on board the recommendations of its own scientific experts to recognise the demarcation between citrus growing and non citrus growing regions.”

“The Commission fails to have a consistent approach to applying control measures on different countries with regard to plant health exceedances. Communication with the industry when issues are identified is too little, too late.  It really is a lottery, rather than a risk based approach to plant health controls. Let’s hope that the Commission’s approach does not hinder European exports to third countries,” added Nigel Jenney.