Agri Business

EU raises restrictions on capsicum imports from India, Pakistan

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on May 19, 2020

For curry leaves from India, though, norms made less stringent due to increased compliance

The EU has raised the restrictions on capsicum imported from India and Pakistan due to high rate of non-compliance with pesticide norms making it mandatory for shipments to be accompanied by an official certificate stating that the items were free of pesticide residues.

For curry leaves imported from India, however, the EU observed that the frequency of non-compliance with regulations had declined and the earlier requirement for mandatory certification could be discontinued, a government official told BusinessLine.

The bloc, in a notification to the World Trade Organisation specifying new restrictions on various members, argued that despite the official controls carried out on these foodstuffs by the member States, there was a persistently high rate of non-compliance for peppers of the Capsicum species (other than sweet) from India. In Pakistan’s case, non-compliance for capsicum had increased after the official controls were raised.

“In order to protect human health in the Union, it is, therefore, necessary in addition to the increased level of official controls, to provide for special conditions concerning peppers of the capsicum species (other than sweet) from India and Pakistan. In particular, all consignments...should be accompanied by an official certificate stating that the products have been sampled and analysed for pesticide residues and all results show that the relevant maximum residue levels of pesticides have not been exceeded,” as per publication in the EU’s official journal on May 6 2020. The results of the sampling and analysis are to be attached to that certificate.

Capsicums imported from India and Pakistan into the EU was subject to an increased level of official controls to check the presence of pesticide residues since January 2018. That frequency rate was increased in January 2019 from 10 per cent to 20 per cent due to a high degree of non-compliance with the relevant requirements provided for in Union legislation.

Many Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications were transmitted concerning both commodities since the establishment of an increased level of official controls. “Those results provide evidence that the entry of those foods into the Union constitutes a serious risk for human health,” the EU publication added.

Although India’s total capsicum exports in 2018-19 were valued at just $2 million compared to its total fresh fruits and vegetable exports worth $1.4 billion, additional export restrictions on any farm product send out a negative message and makes buyers of all products more cautious, the official said.

“The bad news on the capsicum front, however, has got slightly balanced out on the positive developments on curry leaves,” the official added.

“For curry leaves from India, the frequency of non-compliance with the relevant requirements provided for in Union legislation detected during official controls performed by member states has decreased. It is appropriate to increase the frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed on this commodity, given that the requirements concerning official certification and sampling and analysis for pesticide residues in the third country will be discontinued for this commodity,” the EU publication stated.

Published on May 19, 2020

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