Ban on Indian mango imports to EU comes into force
- 1 May 2014
- From the section Business
An EU-wide ban on mangoes from India has come into force, halting imports into the UK potentially until December 2015.
The ban also includes aubergines, two types of squash, and a type of leaf used in Indian cooking.
Shipments of mangoes were suspended into Europe after consignments were found to be infested with fruit flies.
The UK imports around £6.3m worth of Indian mangoes per year out of a UK mango market worth £68m in total.
Non-European food pests were found in 207 shipments of fruit and vegetables in 2013.
Indian mango exporters said they have put checks in place and have approached the authorities in Brussels to try to get the ban lifted.
"Since we got to know about the issue in March, we've put in place an elaborate examination and certification procedure that addresses the issue raised by the EU," said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), a body affiliated with the Indian Department of Commerce.
Local prices for mangoes fell around 15% in the few days before the ban came into force, Mr Sahai said.
The UK imports a total of 56,205 tonnes of mangoes per year, of which 4,816 tonnes, or 8.5%, come from India.
Premium Alphonso mangoes, which are popular in the UK, are in season as the ban comes into force.
UK mango importer Monica Bhandari said that it was a "knee-jerk reaction" for the European Commission to put the ban in place, and that mangoes could be treated with water to get rid of insects.
"We ourselves have only imported treated mangoes this year, and we have had zero instances of pests found in our products," she told the BBC.
She added that the European Commission did not seem to have consulted importers before moving to a ban.
Mangoes are imported into the UK from a number of countries, including Brazil, Peru, Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which voted to put the ban in place, is working with Indian authorities and the European Commission to try to get the ban lifted.
The ban includes imports of Momordica and Snake Gourd squashes, and Patra leaves, which are used in a dish called Patra.