Apple and pear growers and exporters are reminded to know the maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements of the countries they export to.
In January, the European Union (EU) released a Commission Regulation to set new MRLs for a range of commodities, including diphenylamine (DPA).
The review of the DPA limit in pome fruit was not adjusted in this regulation and will temporarily remain at 0.1 mg/kg for a maximum of two years, until January 2018. There is a possibility that this limit will be reduced and set at either 0.05 mg/kg or as low as 0.01 mg/kg.
The ruling acknowledged that an:
“unavoidable cross-contamination affecting untreated apples and pears still occurs. In order to provide the necessary time for business operators to completely remove the residues of diphenylamine in storage facilities, it is appropriate to maintain those temporary MRLs, which will be reviewed.”
Australia’s MRL for DPA is unaffected and still sits at 10 mg/kg for apples and 7 mg/kg for pears. However, packing sheds preparing fruit for export to the EU will need to pay attention to the European MRL, which sits well below the Australian level.
In 2015, the United Kingdom (UK) was Australia’s second largest market for export apples, with a total of 700 tonnes shipped – up nearly 200 per cent on the previous year. A significant portion of the Australian exports were Pink Lady® apples ( 540 tonnes) and were well up on the 94.5 tonnes the previous year.
Australian product, however, hardly makes a splash in the UK which annually imports 426,000 tonnes of apples. Their biggest suppliers are France and Italy – together accounting for 39.5 per cent of the market; South Africa, with 18.7 per cent; and New Zealand at 11.1 per cent.
The average free on board (FOB) price for Australian product (across the apple category) for the UK was A$3.52 per kilogram which is better than the price recorded for our biggest export market, Papua New Guinea – A$2.05. Australia has not exported apples to any other market in the EU in the last couple of years.
Pear exports to the EU totalled a mere 48 tonnes with the Netherlands the only destination. These were the first Australian pears shipped to the EU since 2012, when 70 tonnes were exported to the UK.