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Gerhard Joermann (BVL): "Each in Germany ethylene ripened banana is illegal"

Ethylene in German banana industry prohibited since February 2012

Earlier this month we published a report that in Germany it would no longer be allowed to produce ethylene in the potato and onion cultivation with effect from 14 February 2012. This applied to both organic and conventional companies. Dirk Garos has requested an explanation from ethylene producer Restrain at Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) whether this ethylene prohibition also applies to bananas and a positive reply followed.
"Each banana ripened in Germany is actually illegal," Dirk concludes. "Worse even in the entire EU there is no registration for ripening of bananas with ethylene. Only the United Kingdom have a so-called 'commodity approval'.

"For potatoes and onions 10 to 15 ppm are required. The use of ethylene for banana ripening is about 100 times as high. Restrain have arranged certain exceptions and some are still in force in various EU countries. This has cost us more than 1 million Euro in the meantime. For the Netherlands Restrain have had official permission of CTGB since 2009. This year we applied for an increase in the product range for only 1 ppm for which no permission was granted, as according to the EU guidelines only for defined areas can permission be applied for. This will cost us again 300,000 euro and a waiting period of 3 years."
How can thousands of tons of bananas with 1000 ppm ethylene be ripened daily? This question is now at GlobalGAP, Mr.Frederick Luedeke. Mr.Luedeke will contact
Fruchthandels Verband, Deutsches Zwiebel Verband, and Deutsche Kartoffel Verband and together look for a solution with BVL and on EU level. On 31 May the ethylene problem will also be in Brussels in order to be placed on the Annex I of Regulation 1107/2009. "However, a generator which converts ethanol into ethylene is not required to be registered, according to directive EU 91/414. This makes the situation even more weird" Dirk concludes.

For more information:
Dirk Garos
+31 653869221

Publication date: 5/23/2012


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