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La Unión calls on EU to implement stricter surveillance of imported citrus


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.

TAGS: La Unió, Spain, citrus, EU, pests

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Brazil closes border to Argentinian apples and pears

Argentina’s apple and pear exports rise despite smaller crop

Brazil has stopped imports of apple and pears crossing into the country from Argentina’s provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén due to pest detections in shipments of fruit. Codling moth larvae was reported to be found in several loads of apples and pears. Meanwhile, Argentina’s phytosanitary agency Senasa is negotiating with Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture to enable shipments to resume as soon as possible. Senasa is also working with the affected growers and exporters and taking steps such as closing production sites and packhouses. These incidents echo a similar occurrence in 2015, when Brazil suspended market access for Argentine fresh apples and pears for several weeks following codling moth detection.

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Brown marmorated stink bug causing concern in northern Italy

Farmers in northern Italy are said to be worried about the proliferation of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giuliam. The crops most at risk are apples, pears, kiwi fruit, grapes, soya beans and maize, according to Italian MEP Mara Bizzotto.

Farmers in northern Italy are said to be worried about the proliferation of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys).

The crops most at risk are apples, pears, kiwi fruit, grapes, soya beans and maize, according to Mara Bizzotto, an Italian Member of the European Parliament.

In a question for written answer in the Parliament, Bizzotto called for urgent action by the European Commission.

She said higher than average autumn temperatures favoured the proliferation of the insect, native to Asia, in regions in northern Italy.

“It was Coldiretti that sounded the alarm concerning the dangers posed by the brown marmorated stink bug, forecasting enormous damage to farming in northern Italy, and especially in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.”

“The brown marmorated stink bug does not have any natural predators in Italy and for health reasons, none can be imported from eastern Asia.

“The proliferation of various new insect species in Italy and the EU is an ongoing issue at present that the EU institutions need to tackle urgently, in order to protect farming from damage that, according to Coldiretti, could total more than one billion euros in Italy,” she said.

Image source: USDA Agricultural Research Service  

In his reply dated January 26, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner listed measures that Italian authorities could take, including the granting of support by the Italian Regional Rural Development Programmes for investments in preventive actions, and the granting state aids as compensation for income losses.

In answer to a separate question about the same pest, Hogan said in December the Commission was not aware “of the spreading of the brown marmorated stink bug and consequent damages to Italian agriculture.

“At the moment, no official requests have been received from the Italian Authorities. The pest is present in a number of Member States and it is not regulated as a quarantine pest in the EU,” he said at the time.

Top image of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys): USDA Agricultural Research Service

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US bans certain citrus imports from Morocco over medfly risk

Medfly (Ceratitis capitata) is not known to be established in the US, except for Hawaii, and would pose a serious threat to US agriculture.

Detections of live Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies) on cold-treated clementines from Morocco has led to a ban on import of tangerines, clementines, mandarins (Citrus reticulata), and sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) from that country into the US with effect from February 8, the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) has announced.

The ban will apply until APHIS and Morocco’s national plant protection organisation investigate and take “necessary actions to mitigate the pest risk.” 

APHIS said that prior to the Federal Order prohibiting such imports, tangerine, clementine, mandarin, and sweet orange fruit could be imported into the US if subjected to cold treatment and inspection upon arrival. “However, on January 13, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspections at the port of entry in Philadelphia detected live medfly larvae on commercial consignments of cold-treated clementines (Citrus reticulata) from Morocco.

Image of medfly (Ceratitis capitata) larva: by Daniel Feliciano, GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The agency said it is also prohibitingoverland in-bond transit movements of tangerine, clementine, mandarin, and sweet orange fruit south of 39° latitude and west of 104° longitude in the US. These prohibitions apply to all importation and movement, including commercial and non-commercial cargo, passenger baggage, international mail, and express courier shipments.”

According to the Federal Order, medfly (Ceratitis capitata) is not known to be established in the US, except for Hawaii, and would pose a serious threat to US agriculture.

Source: APHIS Prohibits Importation of Certain Citrus Fruit from Morocco due to Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Image of a female Mediterranean fruit-fly (Ceratitis capitata).: By Alvesgaspar under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons