A Dutch produce wholesale company, Jaguar, announced that it wants to scale up 'clean' citrus from Egypt. That nagged at Hans Korsten after he read it. Korsten doesn't think there's any harm in Jaguar's use of the word. But, he wanted to clarify how the rest of Egyptian citrus is doing.
So, Hans penned a letter to eliminate a potential misconception: "I saw the "Clean Citrus van Jaguar" article on AGF and FreshPlaza several times. I'm an expert and supporter of Egyptian fresh produce exports. As such, I got mixed feelings from the first time I read the article. These feelings were repeatedly reinforced," writes Korsten.
Hans Korsten and his son.
"I appreciate that parties like Jaguar, and many others, want to be at the head of the class when it comes to using chemicals. But, we shouldn't give the impression that - by launching so-called 'Clean Citrus' - the rest of the citrus from Egypt would then be 'unclean'. I think that's the message Jaguar is sending. Perhaps, unintentionally. After all, Jaguar has traded product from Egypt for decades. They wouldn't have done so if the product hadn't been designated 'clean'. In other words, meeting the legal requirements of food safety."
According to Korsten, almost all export products can be labeled 'clean'. He writes, "Any citrus export product that complies with European food safety legislation can be labeled 'clean'. And that's the case for most Egyptian exports. Often, products even meet the exceptionally high requirements of some specific (usually German) retailers."
"Jaguar is going a step further and has some sort of 'semi-organic' product on the market. That's to be welcomed. But there's a difference between conventional and organic. And Egypt meets the food safety requirements of conventional exports very well. So 'Clean Citrus' and healthy as well. If we want to apply the term 'clean' or 'Chemfree' strictly, we must think of products that are free - not semi-free - from chemicals. However, then we're talking about 'organic'. And the Jaguar product doesn't meet that standard either," concludes Korsten.