The community executive intends to implement cold treatment for South African orange before the start of the southern hemisphere export season, which is in just a few weeks.
"Brussels' firmness on cold treatment and its immediate application are evident in the letter that the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, sent to reply to the letter that the EU Citrus Contact Group (France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy) sent on 11 January 2022 to the EC Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Dombrovskis, to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Wojciechowski and to the Commissioner for Health and Plant Food Safety herself, Stella Kyriakides," stated Inmaculada Sanfeliu, Chair of the Citrus Management Committee. The letter reminds the citrus-producing Member States that EFSA has expressed its opinion on the need to apply cold treatment to prevent the spread of the false moth pest in the EU.
The letter makes clear the official position of the Community Government on its intention to apply cold treatment for South African orange. However, the regulations are not being processed yet. In fact, after the World Trade Organization reviewed the European proposal and the period of allegations came to an end (last 11th), the Member States have not yet received the technical requirements for the application of cold treatment that prevents the arrival of Thaumatotibia leucotreta.
This confirms the fears of the European sector, which saw how the implementation of the measure, which was approved by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) and subsequently processed, including the first step by the WTO, might not occur before the beginning of the upcoming South African campaign.
"Cold treatment is the only solution that will bring calm for South Africa and the EU on this issue," Inmaculada Sanfeliu stated. It guarantees no South African shipment will be intercepted for having false moths, which could lead to the closure of the EU market. South Africa and Zimbabwe were responsible for all but one of the interceptions of this plague at the European borders in 2021.
Sanfeliu called for the immediate implementation of cold treatment for oranges, as approved by the Scopaff, and said the sector will fight for the future expansion of the measure in mandarins and grapefruits, as they also host the pest. Europe's phytosanitary safety is at stake.
“Cold treatment is globally recognized as highly effective in ensuring the absence of this pest (enough to kill 99.9968% of the pest),” she said.