European Union has implemented stricter phytosanitary rules for imports of several species of fruits, including apples. Since 1st of September 2019 a phytosanitary certificate has been required for import from all third countries for apples. Quarantine pests, which must be absent from apple fruits, were listed in Annex I to the Directive 2000/29/EC and special reqirements, which need to be confirmed by official statement in phytosanitary certificate, were in Annex IV Part A Section I of the directive. As Directive 2000/29/EC has been repealed recently by the new EU Plant Health Law, this has to be reflected in import documents, despite the requirements remain the same.
By the risk categorisation, which was done by European Food Safety Authority (Panel on Plant Health), the following harmful organisms have been addressed as Union quarantine pests, which can be introduced by fruits:
- lesser apple worm Enarmonia prunivora Walsh, for apples
- fruit moth Grapholita inopinata Heinrich, for apples
- apple fruit fly Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh), for apples
- blister canker of pomme fruits Guignardia piricola (Nosa) Yamamoto (preferred name Botryosphaeria kuwatsukai) for apples and pears, and
- apple curculio Tachypterellus quadrigibbus Say (preferred name Anthonomus quadrigibbus) for apples and pears.
The Union quarantine pests shall not be introduced into, moved within, or held, multiplied or released in, the Union territory, except for official testing, scientific or educational purposes, trials, varietal selections or breeding by authorization holder. For regular import a phytosanitary certificate shall confirm, that fruits are free from regulated pests.
The competent authorities of exporting countries needed to inform European Commission on the pest status of regulated pests in their countries, as well as about mitigation measures implemented to reduce the risk of introduction of quarantine pests by imported goods. Based on that information, the European Commission (Food, farming, fisheries; Food Safety; Plants; Plant health and biosecurity) has published a list of countries, from which the import of plants and plant products is allowed. Phytosanitary inspectors at the border control posts of the European Union use these statements in documentary check of declared consignments, at verifiying the option stated as additional declaration on phytosanitary certificates.
In case of apples, the additional declaration on phytosanitary certificate shall contain the wording, such as:
“Consignment complies with Phytosanitary Conditions Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 Annex VII:
- Point 64 Option (a) Fruits of Malus originate in a country recognised as being free from Botryosphaeria kuwatsukai (Hara) G.Y. Sun and E. Tanaka in accordance with the ISPMs
- Point 65 Option (a) Fruits of Malus originate in a country recognised as being free from Anthonomus quadrigibbus Say in accordance with relevant ISPMs
- Point 66 Option (a) Fruits of Malus originate in a country recognised as being free from Grapholita prunivora (Walsh), Grapholita inopinata (Heinrich) and Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh) in accordance with the relevant ISPMs.”
In countries, where the Union quarantine pests are present, other relevant options from Annex VII shall be officially stated for the pests concerned and the EU informed about them, unless the import is prohibited. In other words, introduction of apples and other fruits, listed in Annex XI, Part A and B into EU without a phytosanitary certificate, or with non-compliant certificate or non-compliant goods is not allowed. The only exemptions are some exotic fruits (banana, cocos, ananas, dates, durian), which are not regulated by plant health rules. These rules are applicable for commercial and non-comercial imports (for example in passenger baggage).
The new EU Plant Health Law entered into force on 13 December 2016 and is applicable from 14 December 2019, together with some implementing and delegated acts. The new Plant Health Law has incorporated provisions of Council Directive 2000/29/EC with regards to risk of harmful organisms and regulated host plants, while provisions on official controls were transferred into new official control regulation. The following articles of 2000/29/EC are now regulated by Regulation (EU) 2017/625:
- Art. 1(4) – single central authority & 2(1)g – NPPO
- Art. & 2(1)i – Border Inspection Points, competent authorities of Border Control Posts
- Art. 2(1) p,q,r: def. ‘Consignment’, ‘Transit’
- Art. 12(1): surveys & inland official controls
- Art. 13a – import procedures,
- Art. 13b inspection
- Art. 13c (2-4): list of places with BIPs/BCPs
- Art. 13d: Fees
- Art. 21: audits by EU Commision
Based on plant health regulation (EU) 2016/2031 and official control regulation (EU) 2017/625, several implementing and delegated acts have been recently adopted, or these are expected in the next few years. An important one for imports is the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1715 of 30 September 2019 laying down rules for the functioning of the information management system for official controls and its system components (the IMSOC Regulation). Exporting countries can even ask the Commission to use Traces New Technology sistem for issuing ePhyto, or their partners in the EU (importers and their shipment agents) can use the CHED-PP module within it for prior notification of consignment for phytosanitary inspection.
The new risks
Import of fruits from third countries may pose a risk of introduction of new pest species, which can destroy growing plants in the EU.