Argentina suspends lemon exports to EU following CBS detections

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Argentina suspends lemon exports to EU following CBS detections

Argentina on Wednesday suspended lemon exports to Europe, its leading market, for 15 days following numerous citrus black spot detections in the market, local media [in Spanish] reports.

The decision was announced by Argentina's phytosanitary watchdog Senasa, which said exports to European Union ports would temporarily not be certified.

The move comes during the back end of the peak season for the world's biggest lemon exporter.

According to the Senasa statement, "this measure has come about due to the high number of interceptions of Black Spot (CBS) in various ports of Northern and Southern Europe."

It said that the number could be in excess of 25, although there is still no official figure from Europhyt on detections from this current season.

All shipments that were sent prior to July 1 are exempt from the ban and will be able to enter the European market, Senasa said. Currently around 55,000 metric tons (MT) of Argentine lemons are on ships traveling to the EU.

However, some companies have reportedly said that some shipments of lemons that recently arrived in EU ports were not authorized to enter, with costs of over US$10,000 per container to destroy the fruit.

Argentina normally finishes loading lemons shipments to Europe around August.

The ban will likely provide a boost to the European lemon market which has been under pressure due to the huge drop in demand over recent months from foodservice.

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