The EC responds to possible fraud in the indication of origin of Moroccan horticultural products

MEP Clara Aguilera has received the response from the European Commission to a  question asked last November regarding the possible fraud in the indication of origin of Moroccan fruit and vegetable products.

Aguilera told the Commission that “some agricultural organizations from Almeria and Granada had denounced, in recent months, that some Moroccan fruit and vegetable products were being labeled as of 'Spanish origin'.” She asked the European body if it was aware of this fraud, which hides the true origin of these imported products, especially the tomato.

She also asked the Commission if it could confirm that the quotas established in the EU-Morocco Agreement were being met, and if it could ensure that the Member States through which these products enter the Union apply the same controls or if they differed depending on the port of entry to the EU.

Yesterday, April 26, the European Commission issued its response to the question from the Spanish MEP:

“In 2019, within the framework of the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System, there were 297 exchanges in the EU regarding suspected fraud. The Commission did not receive any information from the Member States on the change of origin of imported fruit and vegetables. In any case, when the authorities determine that a product isn't compliant, it cannot be marketed in the EU. The merchant must adapt the product so that it is compliant and can only market it after the national control body has re-evaluated it, or discard it from the market,” they stated regarding their knowledge about the possible frauds indicated by Aguilera.

Regarding compliance with the quotas, the Commission has stated that the export quotas for fresh tomatoes are set in the agreement signed between the EU and Morocco. "In the last tomato export season, Morocco exported around 423,000 tons of tomatoes to the EU, 256,000 tons of which were subject to quotas. The evolution of the current campaign can be consulted on the  Commission's website.”

Finally, they stated that “Regulation (EU) No. 543/2011 establishes the rules and requirements that all Member States must respect, especially when they carry out checks on the conformity of fruit and vegetables with marketing standards, including the country of origin, in accordance with the certificates of conformity issued, in this case, by the Moroccan control authorities.”

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