Importing citrus fruits into the EU: cold treatment is now mandatory

As of 24 June 2022, precooling at origin and a cold treatment in transit are mandatory for citrus fruits imported from non-EU countries.

The European Union has adopted stricter import regulations for citrus fruits in order to limit the entry of the False Codling Moth (FCM, Thaumatotibia leucotreta), a crop pest. As of June 24, the new regulations state that all imports departing from countries affected by False Codling Moth must have the new phytosanitary certificate indicating that their oranges have been grown in an authorised place. [1]


The regulations require precooling to 5°C at origin and cold treatment in transit at -1°C to 2°C degrees for 25 days. From 2023 onwards, exporters will have two options: either cold treatment between -1°C and 0°C for 16 days or between -1°C and 2 °C for 20 days. In both cases, the operators will be required to pre-cool at 0°C and 2°C, respectively.


According to FAO data, South Africa and Spain are the two largest exporters of citrus fruit globally. [2] As the largest exporter of citrus to the EU market in 2021-2022, the South African citrus industry had severely opposed this new legislation. On the other hand, the Spanish citrus industry welcomes the new regulation which appears to be in line with scientific studies, as discussed in a previous news item[3, 4]




[1] EU publishes stricter import regulations for South African oranges.

[2] FAO. 2021. Citrus Fruit Statistical Compendium 2020. Rome.