Microbiological contamination in fruit from Ukraine for export to Europe might not be detected, according to findings from an audit.
A DG Sante assessment in Ukraine in June 2021 focused on viruses and bacteria in fresh and frozen soft berries like raspberries and blueberries. DG Sante is the European Commission’s unit for food safety and health.
The audit found there was no official system for monitoring, sampling and analyzing fruit for export to the EU for microbial contaminants. This means any contamination during harvesting, handling and freezing will not be detected, said auditors.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant the audit was based on a review of documentation and control records, interviews with staff from the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection plus presentations from the Ukrainian Berries Association.
Exports of soft fresh and frozen fruit from Ukraine to the EU included 18,266 tons of raspberries and 9,894 tons of cultivated blueberries in 2020. In the past year, only three border rejections for fruit from Ukraine have been raised on the RASFF portal – all were notified by Poland due to mold in frozen raspberries.