A ban on imports of mangoes from India to the EU is likely to cause dramatic losses to Indian growers and has produced an outcry amongst growers in India and retailers in the UK.
The ban on importing mangoes from India came into effect today 1 May and will continue until 31 December 2015 – possibly subject to revision before then. The ban is a consequence of significant shortcomings in phytosanitary certification systems and is considered essential to protect the European produce industry. The decision was taken due to the high number of consignments of mangoes and other produce from India being intercepted at arrival in the EU with quarantine pests, mainly insects, and of findings made during audits in India. According to Fera (The Food and Environment Research Agency, UK), pests were found in 207 consignments of fruits and vegetables from India imported into the EU in 2013.
The numbers are high enough to raise concerns over the potential introduction of new pests which could pose a threat to EU horticulture. Some of the intercepted pests attack salad crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and some carry viruses which can devastate these crops.
India is the largest single producer of mangoes, with over 70% of exports destined for the Middle East and about 12% for the UK. The most common methods for protecting consignments of mangoes from quarantine pests involve hot water treatment, irradiation (permitted by some countries) and vapour heat treatment. One of the problems, however, is the lack of facilities in India, with only a handful of approved irradiation and vapour heat treatment facilities in the country.
The ban also applies to aubergines, taro leaves and two types of gourd (bitter gourd – Momordica sp., and snake gourd – Trichosanthes sp.) imported from India.
A free text search of CAB Abstracts using the terms ‘mangoes quarantine pests’ results in over 200 records, which include studies on the effects of hot water treatment, irradiation and vapour heat treatment on fruit quality as well as effects on the quarantine pests.
Related News & Blogs
How Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) Enter the Food Chain in non-GMO Producing Countries – by Tatjana Brankov A superficial review of the legislation on transgenic foods and feeds indicates that consumers in non-GMO producing countries consume GMO-free food. However, less attention is paid to the fact that GMOs can enter the food chain through the import of transgenic foodstuff and feedstuff or by contamination. In some countries, transgenic food production is fully equal to conventional production. The concept of substantial equivalence, developed by the OECD and further elaborated by FAO/WHO “embodies the concept that if a new food or food component is found to be substantially equivalent to an existing food or food component, it can be treated in the same manner with respect to safety, i.e. the food or food component can be concluded to be as safe as the conventional food or food component” (FAO/WHO 1996). Such a situation exists in a number of countries, including the USA, where it has been estimated that up to 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves, from soda to soup, and from crackers to condiments contain GMO ingredients (Center for Food Safety 2017). On the other side, EU countries apply the precautionary principle as a guiding approach for transborder movement of GMOs (Myhr and Traavik, 2002). As the EUR-Lex glossary explains, this principle “relates to an approach to risk management whereby, if there is the possibility that a given policy or action might cause harm to the public or the environment and if there is still no scientific consensus on the issue, the policy or action in question should not be pursued.”
29 January 2018