Harmful organisms were mainly found in consignments of fruit or vegetables, according to the Europhyt annual report.
In 2013 the number of fruit/vegetable interceptions (74%) from third countries increased by 18.1% and those with harmful organisms by 27.5%.
Mango, gourds, basils, eggplants, citrus fruit, guava, peppers, Corchorus sp. and Colocasia sp. are intercepted most.
EUROPHYT is a plant health interception notification and rapid alert system for the EU Member States and Switzerland, managed by the European Commission.
Harmful organisms and food type
In 2013 the main harmful organism groups intercepted with fruit/vegetable consignments were insects, fruit flies (747), Thripsspecies (464), white flies (215) and leaf miners (215).
90.1% of the fruit/vegetable interceptions with harmful organisms from Third Countries related to 13 plant species or group of species - seven of which are regulated.
“Most of the interceptions were with mango (Mangifera sp.) (426), followed by gourds of Momordica sp. (332); eggplants (Solanum melongena) (155); Citrus species (123), guava (Psidium sp.) (72) and celery (Apium sp.) (38),” found the report.
There has been a continuous increase in the number of harmful organism interceptions of mango (Mangifera sp.) and Momordica sp. gourds since 2010.
Interceptions of basil fluctuated with peaks in 2009 and 2011 and eggplant interceptions increased after a 2010 drop.
Citrus interceptions also fluctuate, probably depending on the weather conditions of the exporting countries during the growing season, said the report.
In 2012-2013 there was a significant increase in interceptions of certain non-regulated products (Luffa sp. and Trichosanthes sp. gourds, peppers, Amaranthus sp. and Colocasia sp.).
Member States reported 365 interceptions with harmful organisms of consignments of the non-regulated species, equivalent to 19.6% of the fruit/vegetable HO interceptions.
“The largest number of interceptions was reported with Luffa sp. gourds (132), followed by Corchorus sp. (65), peppers (Capsicum sp.) (42), Amaranthus sp. (38) and Trichosanthes sp. Gourds.”
Why the interceptions?
Reasons for interceptions from third countries were the presence of harmful organisms in 36% of the cases, followed by non-compliant wood packaging material (WPM) (28.4%).
Problems with the phytosanitary certificate (PC) - e.g. absent, illegible, fake, expired or with a missing, invalid or inadequate additional declaration6 were responsible for 24.8% of the interceptions
EUROPHYT received 6,957 notifications about consignments intercepted by the Member States and Switzerland due to non-conformity with EU requirements.
6,639 of them were imported from third countries and 317 from Member States.
The main exporters of goods, intercepted with harmful organisms were India, Pakistan, Ghana, Dominican Republic, China, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Bangladesh.
Measures by the European Commission have reduced numbers from Thailand, Vietnam and Israel.
Delays in making EUROPHYT notifications decreased but the EU average of nine working days of notifications with harmful organisms in 2013 is above two working days, required by EU legislation.