Spanish agrarian organisation LA UNIÓN has reported a 17% increase this year in interceptions of citrus fruits infected with pests and diseases arriving from third countries. According to the organisation’s press release, there have been 124 intercepted shipments in European ports, with those arriving from South Africa (+88%) and Uruguay (+380%) topping the list.
In the imports detained due to the presence of pests and disease, there were 41 issues related to Phyllosticta citricarpa (Black Spot fungus), and 34 with Thaumatotibia leucotreta (the false moth that causes serious commercial damage to citrus). Both present a serious risk that is not yet present in European citrus.
LA UNIÓN calls on the EU to conduct stricter phytosanitary surveillance and strengthen requirements for cold treatment and control at source for citrus. In the recent analyses carried out by LA UNIÓN, it was discovered that most of the banned active substances detected in the fruit from the third countries relate to fungicides used to preserve the fruit as alternatives to cold treatment.
“That is why we think it is a clear fraud and deception for the European consumer and that it would be avoided by using cold treatment,” says Carles Peris, general secretary of LA UNIÓN.