In recent times, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of citrus fruits from southern Africa, with pleas from Valencia’s politicians for the EU to intervene.
The Port of Valencia has traditionally been a gateway for citrus fruit arriving in Europe from Argentina and Uruguay. However, it does not receive citrus from southern Africa. According to Europhyt data, 53,326 tons of the fruit arrived in Europe from southern Africa in June, the first month in the year of citrus imports from the region; of this volume, 42,979 tons (around 80%) came in via the Netherlands. This month, no cases of Thaumatotibia leucotreta have been registered in the Netherlands. However, there have been five reported instances of this pest in France, despite the country’s much lower level of imports. All this fuels suspicions that plant health checks in the Netherlands are insufficiently rigorous. Do citrus fruit imports from southern Africa go through the same health checks as products from Valencia?