16 de noviembre de 2016

The EU reinforces border checks to Turkish lemons

The frequency of checks due to the use of pesticides will be increased from 10% to 20% 

EU Clients and Supermarkets to be aware of the potential risk of Turkish lemons

For the present 2016/2017 campaign beginning last September, Turkish lemons were included on Annex 1 of Regulation Commission Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 as they are officially considered to be a risk product due to the presence of pesticide residues. This decission was supported by all Member States taking into account the  detection in 2015 of 10 batches containing elevated levels of biphenyl residues, and the reports from the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) confirming the deficiencies of the official Turkish control system on the marketing and use of phytosanitary products.

From the beginning of September to end of October, the European Commission has engaged its RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) to report that 5 batches of Turkish lemons were rejected and were not allowed to enter or to be sold within the European Union. The rejection of the Turkish lemons in Greece (1 case) and Bulgaria (4 cases) came after detecting chlorpyrifos residues in concentrations that more than doubled the MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) established by EU legislation.

As a result of this high number of detections, the European Commission decided this week to amend the import conditions and reinforce border checks to Turkish lemons, increasing the frequency of checks (including laboratory analysis) from 10% to 20%. In practice it means that 2 trucks of 10 will be inspected at the European border to get import permission. New control scheme will enter into force as of 1 January 2017.

AILIMPO's Assessment. EU Clients and Supermarkets to be aware 

The Spanish lemon and grapefruit interbranch organization, AILIMPO, has underscored that “this is an express, official acknowledgment by the European Commission of the risk of lemons from Turkey insofar as non-compliance with Community legislation regarding pesticides”. Furthermore, José Antonio García from AILIMPO states that “These 5 health alerts notified through the European database RASFF confirm the deficiencies in the official Turkish control system”.



Ailimpo is the Spanish interbranch organization based in Murcia and officially recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and the European Commission. The organization represents the economic interests of producers, cooperative farming organizations, exporters and industries of lemons and grapefruits in Spain, a sector in which Spain is the world's largest fresh fruit exporter and ranked second among processing countries with a turnover of €620 million annually, generating 15,000 direct jobs and auxiliary industry turnover of over €250 million. 

Ailimpo's duties under law include ensuring the appropriate workings of the food chain, entering into food and agricultural contracts/agreements, developing methods to control and rationalize the use of phytosanitary products to guarantee the quality of products and environmental protection, and fostering and promoting standards of quality and excellence in the sector.

The lemon sector contributes to environmental sustainability with a net positive balance of 304,840 tons of CO2 sequestered yearl.