An audit carried out between the months of May and June 2022 by the General Directorate of Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission on the official controls that Turkey applies in relation to mycotoxins in dried figs and pistachios concludes that they are not effective. This conclusion fully coincides with the alerts and rejections at the border level that are notified through the Rapid Alert Network for Feed and Food (RASFF), where figs and pistachios from Turkey are prominent players due to the presence of aflatoxins.
It should be noted that the EU establishes that each shipment of dried figs and pistachios coming from Turkey or through Turkey must have a health certificate issued by the authorities, as well as the results of official sampling that demonstrate compliance with the requirements on maximum levels. of aflatoxins. It should be remembered that no level has been established for Ochratoxin A in dried figs. Figs from Turkey are subject to a 20% analysis frequency by EU countries, while it is 50% for pistachios.
There is a decreasing trend of rejection decisions based on Turkish pre-export tests. This fact contrasts with the results obtained in the controls carried out by the EU countries. In short, the ability of the Turkish control system to ensure that all shipments of exported dried figs and pistachios have been produced in accordance with EU regulations is called into question.
The auditors found that official controls are not designed to verify and control whether farmers implement mycotoxin control measures. Reports on official controls, including the effectiveness of HACCP schemes and controls carried out by processors, are also poor.