EU pesticide law 'will not hit apple imports'

Growers do not anticipate lower supplies into the EU

South African apple and pear suppliers have moved to assuage fears over potential shortages in supply to the EU next year, when new EU legislation on a key pesticide used comes into force.

The new rules, which come in on 2 March, state that apples and pears sold in the EU can contain no more than 0.1 parts per million (ppm) diphenylamine (DPA) compared with the current 0.5ppm.

When proposals for a lower level of DPA were going through the EU, there were concerns that supplies of fruit from South Africa - a major supplier into the EU and UK - would be hit as DPA has historically been widely used in the country.

But trade body HORTGRO, which represents 1,300 South African growers, said it did not anticipate any change in supply as a result of the lower DPA level.

“It’s difficult to say at this stage, but we don’t foresee any drastic changes in supply to the EU,” said Jacques du Preez, product manager of top and stone fruit at HORTGRO.

The news has been welcomed by English Apples and Pears, which said it did not want to see the UK market short of apples. “I regard that as being very good news,” said chief executive, Adrian Barlow. “It’s of great importance.”