Australian industry backs South African citrus in Europe

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Australian industry backs South African citrus in Europe

Industry body Citrus Australia has called on the European Union to accept internationally recognized scientific findings about citrus black spot disease and continue allowing access for South African fruit. citrus small

In a release, Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani said EU concerns that South African fruit may spread the disease to Europe were unfounded.

"Earlier this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) came out saying that citrus imports posed an unacceptable risk to Europe's own industry due to concerns over citrus black spot.

"We knew that this was contrary to what others – including the United States Department of Agriculture - have found and we backed Australia's involvement in an international expert panel set up to consider the scientific facts."

The panel included contributions from Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Uruguay, Australia and South Africa.

The Citrus Australia release highlighted that the EFSA's risk assessment was different to the USDA's, which determined that fresh fruit was not a risk pathway. This finding led to the recent opening of access for Uruguayan citrus in the U.S.

"This only adds to our disappointment with the EU stance - given that leading US experts conducted a very thorough examination of the risk and arrived at a very different conclusion," Damiani said.

"While Europe is currently a minor market for Australia, the principle here is very important - any measures placed on the trade in fruit should be based on sound science and in this case it appears that the EU position on citrus black spot is not technically justified.

"We therefore urge EFSA to base all its future decisions solely on internationally accepted science."


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