Written question – Plant health checks on citrus fruit imports from southern Africa in European ports – E-006778/2017

Valencian ports have traditionally been the main points of entry for citrus fruit into Europe and still receive citrus imports arriving from Argentina and Uruguay. However, citrus fruit arriving from southern Africa does not pass through Valencia’s ports. According to Europhyt data, 53 326 tonnes of the fruit arrived into Europe in June, the first month in the year of citrus imports from southern Africa; of this, 42 979 tonnes (around 80%) came in via the Netherlands. This month, no cases of Thaumatotibia leucotreta have been registered in the Netherlands. However, there have been five reported instances of this pest in France, despite the country’s much lower level of imports. All this fuels suspicions that plant health checks in the Netherlands are insufficiently rigorous.

Is the Commission confident that all citrus fruit sold in Europe from southern Africa has undergone strict plant health checks?

Do citrus fruit imports from southern Africa go through the same health checks as products from Valencia?