Decision by the European Commission’s standing committee on plant health regarding the importation of South African citrus
The phytosanitary measures for Citrus Black Spot (CBS) on fruit imported from South Africa have been a point of discussion in the European Union (EU) by the Standing Committee on Plant Health (SCPH) over the past few weeks. These measures are aimed at preventing the introduction of the fungus Guignardia (Phyllosticta) citricarpa, which causes lesions (black spots) on the citrus fruit.
The EU market remains an important market for South African citrus and, therefore, this department will continuously strive to ensure compliance to the current measures. The key instrument in achieving this compliance goal remains the CBS-risk management system (RMS) which aims to prevent the occurrence of CBS in consignments destined for the EU and other CBS-sensitive markets.Within the RMS, control measures (including registration of orchards and fields, mandatory spraying regimes and inspections pre and post-harvesting) are carried out to minimise the risk. We also continue to ensure that sufficient information is shared with the EU regulatory authorities on any matter concerning the RMS.
The new measures currently being proposed by the SCPH require the sampling of fruit (600 fruit per 30 tons) and, where any symptoms are found, confirmatory tests to be undertaken. This will mean that the producer will incur additional costs for compliance and the department will have to bear the costs for an additional regulatory burden.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries maintains its position that the commercial fruit does not pose a risk to the EU in terms of the introduction and establishment of CBS into the territory of the EU. However, we are committed to ensuring compliance and acknowledge the open channels of technical communication with the EC affording us opportunities to make inputs.