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Extreme cold treatment to tackle false codling moth could be the reason why more than R654 million worth of citrus fruit could be destroyed by the European Union (EU).

In June, the EU voted in a new requirement that will force southern African countries to implement extreme cold treatment to tackle false coddling moth.

News24 reports that false coddling moth is more properly called Thaumatotibia leucotreta. It is known to feed on anything from avocado to maize, making it small and inconspicuous eggs a feared containment in fruit shipments.

South Africa exports more than 800 000 tons of citrus fruit to Europe every year. The new cold-treatment regulations are aimed to kick in on Thursday 14 July. This means that the 3.2 million cartons of fruit that are already on their way, but will arrive in the EU after the deadline, will be destroyed by authorities.

Deon Joubert, the Citrus Growers’ Association’s special envoy for market access and EU matters says the CGA views the new regulations as drastic and misinformed.

“They require that imports of citrus fruit must undergo specified mandatory cold treatment processes and precooling steps for specific periods (up to 25 days of cold treatment) before importation… before consignments are shipped”.

The regulations, voted in by the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed are only required to be met by southern African countries.

Image credit: Homeperch

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