European Commission to keep the special and reinforced controls on Turkish lemons for 2018-2019 season

The European Commission has decided to keep the special and reinforced controls on Turkish lemons for the 2018-2019 season, starting in September, with the aim of ensuring compliance with EU legislation on maximum pesticide residue limits, as it believes they still constitute a risk. As a result, checks will remain in place on a minimum of 10% of batches imported into the European Union.

During the 2017-2018 season, the European Commission announced 8 health warnings related to an excess of pesticide residues in Turkish lemons, through its Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). As a result some batches of Turkish lemons were rejected by official European authorities, prohibiting their entry and sale in the European Union. These rejections were due to the detection of residues of chlorpyrifos and imazalil in significantly higher amounts than permitted by the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) established in EU regulations. These 8 health alerts notified through the European database RASFF provide key information for European distribution chains, by highlighting the problems that Turkish lemons have in meeting EU food safety standards.

With these actions, the EU has confirmed the risk status of Turkish lemons and decided to keep its stricter border controls in place. The measure has now been officially adopted by the European Commission through its Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/941, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on 3 July 2018. As a result, until at least 31 December 2018, Turkish lemons will be subject to stricter official controls (1 of every 10 batches exported to the EU), involving documentary, identity and physical checks -including laboratory analyses-.

In addition the importer/authorised economic operator, or their agent, must give prior notification of the batch, and the estimated date and time of its physical arrival at designated points of entry (DPEs), which are the only EU customs posts where imports are permitted. This involves the presentation of a completed Common Entry Document (CED) - required for entry through EU customs -, at least one working day before the physical arrival of each batch of Turkish lemons.

For more information:
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