At the end of October 2017, the authorisation for the substance maleic hydrazide (MH) expires. A draft of a review report of the EFSA is currently up for discussion by the EU. The GroentenFruit Huis and LTO call the possible loss of the authorisation the final blow for the export position of the Dutch onion, but according to Dirk Garos from Restrain, there are good alternatives available as a sprout inhibitor in onions in the form of ethylene. Although Garos was surprised by the timing of the procedure for reevaluation, other countries, such as France and the UK, have been having this discussion much longer already. “It has now also been picked up on European level, and I did not see that coming.”

“We have been supplying ethylene for the onion sector for 14 years already, and we treat approximately 250,000 tonnes of onions annually, organic onions in particular. Ethylene treatment significantly extends shelf life of the onions. If MH is abolished, it will not be the end of the sector,” Garos explains. “The difference between MH and ethylene is that ethylene has to be applied separately during transport. For the export to far-off destinations, a simple and good way has to be found to apply this per container.”

“We have invested heavily in the authorisation and patenting, and are therefore not just going to invest in this. We would like to enter into a conversation with the sector on how to solve this. As a sector, we can see this as an opportunity, instead of as a threat.”

For more information:
Dirk Garos
T: +31 (0)6 538 692 21