Differing views between the US, Spain and Italy on terms used for labelling citrus fruit packages are among topics to be discussed at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva next week.
The US has advised it is “deeply concerned” that proposed changes could mean its quality inspectors are asked “to validate species, varieties and/or their hybrids – something they are not trained or equipped to do.”
In regard to the labelling of packages containing a mixture of citrus fruit of different species, a working group has proposed the name of the variety or variety group – for example: “Navels”, “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli”, “Tarocco”, etc. – be required.
Among its comments on proposed changes, Spain said it would prefer to label the name of the variety as under the current standard but could accept the name of the variety group for oranges as an option. Spain proposes adding more examples “to make it clear that there are two options of marking: variety or variety group.” It proposed the following label options: “Navelina” or “Navels”, “Valencia delta seedless” or “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli” or “Blood oranges”, “Tarocco” or ”Blood oranges”, etc.
Meanwhile among its comments, Italy said the indication “Blood oranges” as a variety group could create a misunderstanding. “Please note that for us “Tarocco” and “Sanguinello” are variety groups,” it said.
The discussion about changes is part of a plan to make labelling of citrus fruit packages unambiguous and easy to follow. This would involve changes the UNECE Standard for Citrus Fruit. The issue is on the agenda for the sixty-third session of the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (GE.1) to be held April 21-24.
Also up for consideration are a draft Standard for Lambs Lettuce and an explanatory brochure and Standard for Persimmons.
And among other revisions to UNECE standards to be discussed are:
- Apples: relating to the structure of the List of Varieties taking into consideration the correspondence received from the delegation of the Netherlands and WAPA;
- Garlic: the Spanish delegation will make proposals on revising the Standard for Garlic to reflect the results of the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product;
- Watermelons: the Specialized Section will continue its work on revising the Standard for Watermelons;
- Early and ware potatoes: the Hungarian delegation is expected to provide information supporting its proposals for revising the standard;
- Tomatoes: delegations will revisit the 2014 post-session text of the tomatoes standard to decide whether to delete “cherry tomatoes” from the commercial types listed in the “Definition of produce” section;
- Leeks: the Specialized Section may wish to review the Standard for Leeks to take into account the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product.
Separately, the delegations of France, Hungary and Poland have requested a discussion on how marking or labelling provisions of the standards could support traceability, and a working group will report on food waste related to the use of standards.
The agenda also says that the Specialized Section will discuss its future work and whether the following standards, last amended in 2010, need to be reviewed in 2016: anonas, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocados, beans, berry fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, ceps, cherries, cucumbers, courgettes, kiwifruit, peaches and nectarines, peas, ribbed celery, rhubarb, root and tubercle vegetables, strawberries, and table grapes.
Documents for the meeting are available online here: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=38235#/
Blood Orange image by Eric Hill from Boston, MA, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons