European Union raises restrictions on capsicum imports from India, Pakistan

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.

In a notification to the World Trade Organisation specifying new restrictions on various members, the EU bloc 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 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 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.

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. 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.

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