The EU bans dangerous pesticide in citrus fruit imports

The European Commission has changed its mind and starting next year it will prohibit the use of a dangerous pesticide, acetate guazatine, in citrus imports from third countries; a ban which Brussels already had in force since 2011 for citrus fruits grown in the European Union. This change in its position responds to the claim made last December by the Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA-ASAJA), which complained that it was "a senseless paradox and an unfair situation" for the EU to ban producers and commercial operators in its own territory from using an active substance (due to its high toxicity) and at the same time tolerating the same thing in citrus shipments from competing third countries.

The new EU regulation 2015/1910, only recently approved, sets the same maximum residue limit (MRL) of guazatine acetate for all citrus marketed in the European market, regardless of the country of origin, setting it at 0.05 milligrams per kilo, i.e., an undetectable amount and equivalent to introducing a de facto ban of the substance.

Third countries that export citrus to Europe, such as South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina, will thus lose a competitive advantage that involved the use of this active ingredient as a more effective treatment against fungi.

"What was happening with acetate guazatine was a real blunder and finally the European Union has realised this and has decided to rectify its position, which we welcome," assures the president of AVA-ASAJA, Cristóbal Aguado. We hope Brussels will follow the line of action undertaken with guazatine and amend other similar imbalances."

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