Some Dominican products face continued scrutiny from the European Union, despite a decrease in rejections

Santo Domingo.- The European Union maintains strict standards for accepting foreign-grown products into its market, and this includes products from the Dominican Republic, a major exporter of organic bananas and cocoa to Europe.

The frequency of physical checks on Dominican green beans has been reduced from 50% to 30% over the past year. However, concerns remain regarding at least two products under special observation.

Between 2020 and 2023, 18 notifications were registered on a European Commission digital platform. These notifications involved eight countries that raised observations, some of which included alerts or rejections of Dominican fruits and vegetables due to high levels of pesticides.

These notifications are lower than those of previous years, which had more than 25 rejections in 2014 and around 20 in 2019. Nonetheless, they emphasize the importance of respecting European standards. Notable incidents include Germany, where a shipment of eggplants was destroyed for exceeding permitted levels of pesticides, and Belgium, which rejected a shipment of pineapples due to pesticide residues above accepted parameters.

The Dominican Republic is actively addressing these incidents. In the first nine months of 2023, the country exported chili peppers, eggplants, and long beans, which are subject to increased controls due to a history of pesticide residue findings. Luis Araque, head of the Commercial Section of the European Union delegation in the Dominican Republic, noted progress with fewer notifications and relaxed controls on some products.

Araque explained that the Dominican Republic accompanies these products with a health certificate to demonstrate compliance with the maximum residue limits. For chillies, controls have been relaxed since 2022 without new notifications. Eggplants and green beans also saw significant improvements.

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic attributes the increase in pesticide use to pest outbreaks induced by climate change. This has led producers to apply more pesticides since 2014. The ministry has developed a plan to address these problems, including temporary suspensions of non-compliant producers to export. Through the implementation of protocols, rejections of the European Union decreased by 80% in 2022 compared to 2019.

In addition, the ministry has taken 203 samples for shipments and certificates, of which 16% have been retained in the country to avoid rejections in the destination market. These efforts demonstrate the Dominican Republic’s commitment to meeting European standards and improving the quality of its exports.

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