Oranges from Egypt and peppers from Turkey with chlorpyrifos residues are being rejected by European Union customs. This is as German apple harvest is below last year’s level
Apples remain by far the most cultivated variety of standard fruit in Germany. In 2021, the standard fruit growers expect an apple harvest of about 937,000 tonnes and a plum harvest of 34,000 tonnes.
But, the German Statistical Office (Destatis) reported in July 2021 that the apple harvest will be almost 87,000 tonnes, 8.5% lower than the previous year. Compared to the ten-year average, 24,000 tonnes of apples are expected to be harvested this year, which is around 2% less.
Apples are grown on an area of around 34,000 hectares throughout Germany. The main growing areas are in Baden-Württemberg (Bodensee region), Lower Saxony (the Alte Land) and in Saxony. More than two thirds (72%) of all apples are expected to be harvested there.
Baden-Württemberg is the most important German state for apple growing, with approximately one-third (36%) of the area under apples and the total harvest.
At 34,000 tonnes, this year’s plum harvest is expected to be about one quarter (-27%) lower than last year’s 47,000 tonnes. Since the plum harvest in 2020 was almost equal to the ten-year average, a roughly 27% smaller plum harvest compared to the long-term average is also expected.
Reasons for the currently lower harvest expectations are unfavourable weather conditions and late frosts, which have led to reduced or no fruit setting. In addition, plums are an alternate fruit type. Therefore, a better harvest year (such as in 2020) is normally followed by a year with a smaller harvest.
Plums are currently grown on 4,200 hectares in Germany. The largest plum areas are in Baden-Württemberg (1,800 hectares) and Rheinland-Pfalz (900 hectares). More than half (58%) of all plums will probably be harvested in these states.
However, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) reported the rejection of several batches of imported fruit and vegetables with high levels of residues of chlorpyrifos, a molecule banned in the European Union.
The first notification to RASFF, classified as serious, was made by the authorities of the Netherlands on August 17, after a Dutch importing company detected that a batch of fresh oranges from Egypt had five times more residues of this substance than the maximum residue limits allowed; chlorpyrifos was found in oranges in a proportion of 0.055 mg/kg – ppm and its maximum residue limit (MRL) being 0.01 mg/kg – ppm.
As reported by the alert, the oranges had been distributed, in the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
On the same day, RASFF also reported the detection in Bulgary of Turkish peppers with chlorpyrifos levels of 0.277 +/- 0.139 mg/kg – ppm.
In this case, the peppers were destroyed by the Bulgarian border authorities after they detected their residue levels, thus preventing them from reaching consumers.