May. 17, 2016
On 13 May 2016, Regulation (EU) No 2015/1910 of the Commission, establishing the new MRLs for guazatine, came into force, and therefore, from this date onwards the limit stands at 0.05 mg/kg. In practice, this entails the inability for EU countries to import citrus treated with this active substance. The legislation already applies to the beginning of the summer season in the southern hemisphere and, in terms of volume, it will prominently affect South African citrus exporters, and to a lesser extent, also the Argentinian, Uruguayan and Chilean.
"The entry into force of this Community regulation means that, since 13 May 2016, all citrus producers in the world compete in the European market under the same rules, thus preventing discrimination is favour of producers from third countries. It was a long time request from the Spanish citrus sector," explains the director of AILIMPO, José Antonio García. "It is a key day for us, as this puts an end to a process of more than three years during which both AILIMPO and other organizations, with support from the Spanish authorities, have asked for the same rules to apply to non-European exporters," he adds.
South Africa will be the most affected due to the volume of citrus it exports to the EU. Guazatine was used as a post-harvest treatment to prevent rot problems. In this 2016 campaign, citrus exporters in the southern hemisphere will be forced to make a better selection of the fruit to be shipped to the EU to ensure quality at destination, making use of alternative treatments to guazatine.
It is worth noting that this EU decision was taken after the EFSA, the European Food Safety Agency, published in August 2014 a scientific opinion in which it concluded there was a potential risk for European consumers because of the lack of data caused by the instability of the guazatine molecule.