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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Australian Citrus urges the EU to continue accepting South African citrus

Citrus Australia is urging the European Union to heed the findings of an international expert panel and continue accepting South African citrus. The call comes amid fears the EU will block South African citrus due to concern over the disease, citrus black spot, and disrupt long-established incident-free trade.
Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani says that EU concerns that South African fruit may spread the disease to Europe were unfounded. “Earlier this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) came out saying that citrus imports posed an unacceptable risk to Europe’s own industry due to concerns over citrus black spot. We knew that this was contrary to what others – including the United States Department of Agriculture - have found and we backed Australia’s involvement in an international expert panel set up to consider the scientific facts.”
That panel drew together scientists from a range of citrus exporting nations, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and the United States, and found conclusively that citrus fruit is not a pathway for the transmission of citrus black spot.
The risk assessment conducted by EFSA is also in contrast to the recent risk assessment conducted by the United States which concluded that fresh fruit is not a risk pathway. As a result, the first citrus exports from Uruguay to the United States recently arrived.  “This only adds to our disappointment with the EU stance - given that leading US experts conducted a very thorough examination of the risk and arrived at a very different conclusion,” says Judith.
“While Europe is currently a minor market for Australia, the principle here is very important - any measures placed on the trade in fruit should be based on sound science and in this case it appears that the EU position on citrus black spot is not technically justified. “We therefore urge EFSA to base all its future decisions solely on internationally accepted science.”

Source: Citrus Australia

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