Fruit and vegetables, dried fruit and nuts, mandatory origin in the EU

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dried fruit and nuts mandatory origin

The European Commission – with delegated regulation (EU) 2023/2429, in reform of the ‘marketing standards’ in the fruit and vegetable sector – introduces the obligation to indicate on the label the origin of dried fruit and nuts, dried figs, dried grapes , bananas ripened in the EU. An important step to guarantee the transparency of information to consumers.

1) Common Market Organization (CMO), introduction

The Common Market Organizations (CMOs, or CMOs, ‘Common Market Organisations’) were created at the dawn of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP or PAC, Common Agricultural Policy) to manage the production and trade of the main agricultural raw materials and primary industrial transformation products ( i.e. olive oils, wines, honey, milk and cheeses). With the objectives of guaranteeing a constant income to farmers and a continuous supply to European consumers, on the basis of ‘standard marketing‘ harmonized.

Regulation (EC) No 1234/07 brought together the 21 pre-existing CMOs – each with its own rules – into a single CMO (or OCM), then reformed by the subsequent Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 which was accompanied by a substantial reform of the CAP (or CAP). The main objectives of the new CMO regulation are:

– guarantee a safety net for agricultural markets through a series of support instruments, exceptional measures and aid schemes for certain sectors (i.e. fruit and vegetables, wine),

– encourage cooperation between producers through producer organisations, specific competition rules and ‘marketing standards’ for certain products.

Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) 2023-27 also makes exceptional support measures available to the Commission to address serious market disruptions (i.e. animal disease epidemics, loss of consumer confidence due to risks to public, animal or plant health). (1)

2) Reg. (EU) No 2023/2429. New marketing standards for fruit and vegetables in the European Union

Reg. (EU) No 2023/2429 integrates the ‘Common Market Organization’ (CMO) Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, in the part relating to the ‘marketing standards’ of the fruit and vegetable sector, for some processed fruit and vegetable products, including dried fruit and bananas. (2)

2.1) Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetable products marketed in the EU must always meet thecriteria of health quality, equity, and marketability and the country of origin must be indicated‘ (EU regulation 1308/2013, art. 76). In addition to the marketing standards referred to in Annex I, letter A, to the CMO Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, such as:

  • the minimum characteristics of the products, which must be whole, healthy, clean;
  • minimum maturation characteristics, such that it can continue until reaching the appropriate level of maturity;
  • tolerance of non-compliant products within a batch, equal to 10% of the weight or number of total products,
  • external identifications (marking). The name and address of the packer and/or the shipper and the full name of the country of origin must be reported on the same side of the packaging in legible and indelible characters, with non-toxic inks and/or glues.

The specific characteristics that individual fruit and vegetables (i.e. apples, citrus fruits, pears, etc.) must respect – such as the degree of ripeness, the category, the caliber (EU regulation 2023/2429, art. 2) – are specified in Part B of Annex I.

2.2) Dried fruit and nuts, dried grapes, dried figs, ripe bananas. Mandatory origin

Some processed products based on fruit and vegetables must now indicate the country of origin on the external packaging. This refers in particular to:

  • dried fruit different from those of CN headings 0801-0806; mixtures of dried fruit or nuts, excluding mixtures consisting exclusively of nuts of headings 0801, 0802 of subheadings 0813 50 31 and 0813 50 39 (See CMO, Annex I, Part X, CN code ex 0813), (3)
  • dried figs (CN code 0804 20 90),
  • dried grapes (CN code 0806 20),
  • ripe bananas (NC code 0803 90 10) resulting from maturation on EU territory (EU regulation 2023/2429, art 3).

2.3) Specific marketing rules

Marketing standards specifications set out in Annex I, Part B to CMO Regulation (EC) No 1308/13 now apply to the following products or sectors:

  • apples,
  • pears,
  • citrus fruits,
  • kiwi,
  • strawberries,
  • table grapes,
  • bananas (Annex I, Part B.11),
  • peaches and nectarines/nectarines,
  • lettuces, curly endives and endives,
  • tomatoes,
  • sweet peppers (EU regulation 2023/2429, art 4).

2.4) Exemptions

They are exempt from compliance with the marketing standards listed above – including the obligation to indicate the country of origin – the products:

– intended for industrial transformation,

– sold directly to the consumer for personal needs, on the farm or in producers’ markets or through direct delivery. As well as

– edible sprouts, e

– products from a specific region that boast traditional local consumption.

Uncultivated mushrooms, capers, bitter almonds, shelled nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, common walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts), pecans, other nuts, dried plantain bananas, dried citrus fruits, mixtures of tropical nuts, mixtures of other nuts and saffron are not subject to compliance with marketing standards, without prejudice to the duty to indicate the country of origin (EU regulation 2023/2429, art. 5).

2.5) Exemptions

Exceptions to the compliance obligation the marketing standards are also provided for the following products:

– sent, sold or delivered by the manufacturer to packing and packaging centers or storage centres,

– sent from storage centers to conditioning and packaging centres,

– not compliant with marketing standards due to “force majeure”, provided that they are products of EU origin (unjustified discrimination).

Where the products are identified as ‘intended for donation‘, they ‘must comply with the general marketing standard, except as regards the marking provisions‘.

2.6) Mixtures of products

It is possible to market mixtures of products within a package provided that:

– the weight is less than 10 kg,

– the products or types of products are of homogeneous quality and each product complies with marketing standards,

– the packaging is labeled in accordance with the regulation. (EU) 1169/2011,

– the mix of products does not mislead the consumer.

In case where the different products found in the same packaging come from different Member States and/or third countries, the full name of the States of origin may be replaced by the generic words:

– ‘UE’,

– ‘Non-EU’,

– ‘EU and non-EU‘ (EU regulation 2023/2429, art. 8).

3) Conditions for importing products

Fruit and vegetable products fresh and processed products imported from third countries can be placed in the European single market provided they comply with European marketing standards or equivalent standards.

Third countries who comply with Union marketing standards, or at least equivalent standards, for the products they export to the EU, may ask the Commission for recognition of conformity checks on their products before import into the Union.

The recognition of official bodies of third countries requires that they provide satisfactory guarantees and have the necessary personnel, equipment and structures (EU regulation 2023/2429, art. 9).

4) Conclusions

The indication of the origin of dried and shelled fruit, in addition to ripe bananas, will be able to encourage informed purchasing choices by consumers, as well as retail and processing operators. The regulation applies from 1 January 2025.

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) European Commission. The common agricultural policy: 2023-27. https://tinyurl.com/4zdyv6jb

(2) Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/2429 of 17 August 2023 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards marketing standards for the fruit and vegetables sector, certain processed fruit and vegetable products and the bananas sector, and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 1666/1999 and Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) No 543/2011 and (EU) No 1333/2011 https://tinyurl.com/4ufnxs22

(3) The indication of the origin or provenance of the raw materials, even before the entry into force of the regulation in question, is mandatory if the conditions provided for by the regulation are met. (EU) 2018/775. See the previous article in this regard Origin of dried fruit? The lawyer Dario Dongo answers. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.