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Probe into Citrus Black Spot by government

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has launched an investigation to determine the causes of Citrus Black Spot (CBS) discovered in a consignment of exported lemons to the European Union (EU).
Citrus Black Spot was found in a consignment of lemons from South Africa that landed in The Netherlands. Image:
Citrus Black Spot was found in a consignment of lemons from South Africa that landed in The Netherlands. Image: The Citrus Guy

Last week, the Netherlands' phytosanitary authorities confirmed that laboratory tests had shown that CBS was present in a consignment of South African lemons.

The Department's Chief Director: Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Makenosi Maroo, said the Department was notified about the latest CBS outbreak through the EU EUROPHYT notification system.

"An investigation has been launched by the department in collaboration with the industry to determine the possible causes for the presence of CBS in this fruit," Maroo said.

"Based on the findings, remedial measures will be evaluated and implemented, as appropriate, to prevent reoccurrence. As per previous agreements with the EU, all relevant information will be reported to it.

CBS risk management system in place

Maroo said South Africa has gone to great lengths to ensure compliance with EU requirements through its comprehensive CBS risk management system. She said the intercepted part of the consignment in question was refused entry into the EU.

"This is the first time, this year that CBS, a quarantine pest for the EU, has been detected in lemons entering the EU from South Africa.

"As a department, we've already notified the producer and withdrew the production unit in question from further exports to the EU in the current season. Other fruit types from that production unit already in the export pipeline have also been identified and will be dealt with accordingly," she said.

Maroo said the risk management system was further strengthened for the current export season based on detailed investigations of all CBS non-compliances reported in the EU in 2013.

She said all consignments of citrus entering the EU must comply with the new measures and meet the necessary certification required by the EU regarding CBS, as published earlier this month.

"The new measures include additional pre-export sampling and inspection requirements. All Valencia oranges must have been subject to a chemical symptom expression test," Maroo said.

"Strengthening and strict implementation of risk management processes for CBS will continue in order to ensure that trade with the EU continues. The department is committed to compliance with these standards and to maintaining open channels of communication with the EU," she said.

Maroo said as the EU remains an important market for South African citrus.

SOURCE is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.

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