Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen explained “Latest reports show that as many as 36 cases of citrus black spot were intercepted at the borders in 2017, with two thirds of them coming from South Africa. This is a big rise on levels seen in 2016, after the EU relaxed the rules. This runs contrary to the objectives set out in the EU monitoring programme EUROPHYT which aims to protect the EU against the introduction of new pests and plant diseases”.
“Unless the EU is vigilant this year, there is a serious risk that it will enter the EU. Black spot is a disease that is not present in Europe and its presence could have a disastrous impact on the citrus sector in producer countries where it is very important both economically and socially ”, Pesonen added.
Based on advice from the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EC Decision 2014/422 stated that controls should be stepped up after the 6th interception in the same year. In view of the rising numbers, Copa and Cogeca urge the EU to refer to this decision and make sure that exceptional measures are taken when the level of interceptions exceeds a certain level and that rules are strengthened.