Mediterranean fruit fly

US: Pepper imports from Spain prohibited

The U.S. has suspended imports of fresh bell peppers from Spain due to multiple Medfly detections during Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspections of commercial consignments of fresh bell peppers from Spain at ports of entry into the United States. As of December 29, 2022, both chili peppers and various types of peppers (Capsicum annuum) may no longer be imported. Also, overland in-bond transit movements of these materials south of 39° latitude and west of 104° longitude are prohibited.

According to APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, this is necessary because several Mediterranean fruit flies have been found in fresh peppers from Spain. "Medfly poses an unacceptable risk to the United States because of its extensive host range and ability to reproduce quickly," the organization reports. "This prohibition will be in place until APHIS investigates and determines that the importation of commercial consignments of fresh bell peppers from Spain do not pose a risk to U.S. agriculture."

Small portion
"In a general sense, I don't expect there to be much impact because it's only a small portion of the sales for Spanish peppers," responded Henri Schokman of Freshclusive. The trading company specializes in AGF exports to overseas destinations. "The impact for growers and export companies focused on this is obviously different," he continues. "For us, it is unfortunate because, after the pandemic, it looked like it would be another nice export season to the U.S. from Spain." 

Very unfortunate agrees Marcel van der Pluijm of Feeling Fresh. "The export from December 1 was going very well, yet because of the too-warm weather in southern Spain, the insect pressure was continuously high, so just before Christmas, a number of interceptions were seen." He explains that the Spanish authorities also already decided to take a step back after mutual consultation about the findings in the greenhouses. The ban from the U.S. then followed. "This will cost us sales until the end of March. Bummer, but we have to keep going. Entrepreneurship means being able to deal with disappointments and challenges and continuously anticipating opportunities."

The Federal Order does not apply to other capsicum species, such as Capsicum baccatum L. var. baccatum, Capsicum chinense, and Capsicum frutescens, for example. APHIS requires the phytosanitary certificate accompanying each consignment of fresh pepper for consumption from Spain to include the full botanical name (genus and species) of the pepper in the consignment; listing the genus name only is not acceptable.

Voor meer informatie:
Ruud Krul
De Schakel 7
5651 GH Eindhoven 

Voor meer informatie:
Feeling Fresh
Marcel van der Pluijm
Mob: (+31) 653372891

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