Immediate measures to protect against contaminated imports of citrus fruit from South Africa
Copa-Cogeca urged the EU Commission today to put in place safety measures to protect against contaminated imports of citrus fruit coming in from South Africa. The move comes after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned that there was a high risk of importing the highly contagious disease Black Spot found in citrus fruit from South Africa which currently does not exist in the EU .
Speaking in Brussels, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen insisted “The EU citrus fruit sector is crucial both from an economic and social point of view. It provides high quality, nutritious produce for 500 million EU consumers as well as ensuring employment for millions of people in EU rural areas, both upstream and downstream, especially in southern countries. We cannot take the risk of importing the disease. The impact would be disastrous for EU citrus fruit producers, particularly as southern countries are already being badly hit by a severe economic crisis".
He continued: “The EU Commission has already told the South African authorities to put in place measures to prevent the spread of the disease to Europe, after EFSA warned of the high risk of contamination. I therefore call on the EU Commission to establish immediately the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease to Europe and to restrict imports until the disease has been eradicated. We cannot wait until the next impact assessmemt to take action we need to protect the EU sector against the introduction of Black Spot disease as no control measures currently exist."
Source: Agripress 07:49:00|15/03/2013