The EU ban on mangoes comes into force today and many businesses claim they will lose thousands of pounds if this ban isn’t lifted.
Mangos imported from India are set to disappear from our shelves after a ban fears that shipments contain a pest that could destroy British tomato and cucumber crops. The news has infuriated Asian shopkeepers and restaurant owners, who stand to lose thousands of pounds due to a European-wide ban on the fruit that begins today.
About 16million mangos from India are imported by the UK in a market worth nearly £6million a year.
The EU move – backed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – could not come at a worse time. The peak season is about to begin for the more expensive alphonso variety, known as the king of mangoes and used in puddings and the popular smoothie mango lassi.
The Alphonso mango is native to the Konkan in Maharashtra and Devgad in Ratnagiri district is known for the finest Alphonso mangoes. The EU banned the import of mangoes as they were found to be infested with fruit flies. Fruit flies live for 8-10 days. In that time, females lay around 500 eggs, using rotting fruit or vegetables as their nest.
The Labour MP for Leicester East, Keith Vaz, hosted the first mango festival in Leicester last year. He met up with Asian shopkeepers at the weekend to discuss the ban on Alphonso mangoes and how it will affect businesses. He said:
“I understand that the Indian government has complied with the rules set out by the EU and there is, therefore, no reason for this ban to go ahead. It will cost millions of pounds of lost revenue to the British economy and result in millions of mangoes going to waste in India.”