Brazil suspends citrus exports to E.U.

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Brazil suspends citrus exports to E.U.

Following disease complaints, Brazil has formally suspended orange exports to the European market, the Valencia Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) announced.

The South American nation communicated the unilateral decision this week after increased cases of disease, including guignardia citricarpa, were found at European ports.

In July of this year, AVA-ASAJA reported that cases of citrus diseases found in Brazilian imports had multiplied 10 times between 2010 and 2012.

AVA-ASAJA has put pressure on the European Union to prevent the spread of guignardia citricarpa, a plant pathogen that causes "black spot" on citrus leaves. The organization has denounced Brazil, South Africa and recently Bangladesh for perceived lack of control in preventing the disease.

Given AVA-ASAJA pressure, the European Commission warned Brazil and South Africa that it would take measures if more than five cases of guignardia citricarpa were detected in orange shipments destined for Europe. In October, Brazil surpassed the commission's limit, sparking the current suspension.

The commission has also given an ultimatum to South Africa, who has not yet sent a written response to the situation.

AVA-ASAJA President Cristóbal Aguado said in an official statement that Brazil's decision reflects a very real problem with produce safety. He called for more regulation.

"EU phytosanitary authorities must begin a negotiations process with Brazil, South Africa and countries, as with Bangladesh, in which the number of pests detected have jumped, to establish export protocols as rigorous as those imposed on us to ship our citrus to the United States," Aguado said.

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