Non-compliant fruit and veg imports rise
The Commission published results of border checks by EU countries in 2014 on imports of fruits and vegetables subject to an increased level of official controls.
It presents results of controls on almost 100,000 consignments at EU borders.
More than 11,000 led to laboratory analyses, which resulted in 496 consignments (4.4%) being found to be in breach of EU legislation and prevented from entering the market.
This is up compared with 2013, when 4.1% were stopped at EU borders.
The list of imports of feed and food non-animal origin subject to an increased level of border surveillance is reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Products delisted and change of frequency
The satisfactory level of compliance resulted in several de-listings: pomelos from China, oranges from Egypt and coriander and basil from Thailand (hazard: pesticide residues), curry from India (hazard: aflatoxins), dried noodles from China (hazard: aluminium), frozen strawberries from China (hazard: norovirus and hepatitis A) and coriander, basil and mint from Thailand (hazard: Salmonella).
Strawberries from China were delisted in Q4 with one non-compliant sample in Q3 but none in Q2 or Q1.
The frequency of border controls was also adjusted for several commodities on the basis of the results quarterly reported by the Member States.
It was increased for: Brassica oleracea from China and vine leaves from Turkey (hazard: pesticide residues), dried spices (chilli and nutmeg) from India (hazard: aflatoxins) and betel leaves from India and from Thailand (hazard: Salmonella).
Betel leaves from India were listed as of 1 April 2014 and subject to frequency of physical and identity checks of 10%, this was increased to 50% as of 1 January 2015.
In 571 consignments checked, 60 were analysed and 16 were found to be non-compliant.
Quarterly review inclusions
Imports in the list as a result of the quarterly reviews included vine leaves from Turkey, table grapes from Peru, aubergines, Chinese celery and yardlong beans from Cambodia and dragon fruit from Vietmam for the possible presence of pesticide residues.
Betel leaves from India, betel leaves from Thailand and sesamum seeds from India for Salmonella; enzymes from India for chloramphenicol; groundnuts from Sudan for aflatoxins and dried apricots from Turkey for sulphites were also included.
Inclusion is based on data from notifications through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), reports and information from the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), scientific opinions of the European Food Safety Authority or other scientific body, and information by third countries' competent authorities.