Fresh avocados must comply with general requirements, which you can find on the CBI market information platform. My Trade Assistant of Access2Markets provides an overview of export requirements for avocados (code 08044000) per country.
What are mandatory requirements?
Pesticide residues and contaminants
Pesticide residues are one of the crucial issues for fruit and vegetable suppliers. To avoid health and environmental risks, the European Union has set maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticides and other contaminants, such as heavy metals, in and on food products. Products exceeding the MRLs are withdrawn from the market. For substances that are not yet included in the European regulation, the default MRL of 0.01 mg/kg applies.
Note that buyers in several EU Member States, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, use even lower maximum residue levels than those established by European legislation.
- Check the EU Pesticides database to find all MRLs and those specific for avocados. Search by product or pesticide and the database to find the list of associated MRLs.
- Use integrated pest management (IPM) in production to reduce the use of pesticides. IPM is an agricultural pest-control strategy that includes growing practices and chemical management.
- Read more about MRLs on the website of the European Commission. Check with your buyers if they require additional requirements on MRLs and pesticide use.
- Make sure that lead contamination in your avocados remains below 0.10 mg/kg and cadmium below 0,050 mg/kg, according to the maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs.
The new European Directive (2019) requires avocados to go through plant health checks before entering the European Union. The plant health inspection must take place in the country of origin and the shipment must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, guaranteeing that they are:
- properly inspected;
- free from quarantine pests, within the requirements for regulated non-quarantine pests and practically free from other pests;
- in line with the plant health requirements of the EU, laid down in Regulation (EU) 2019/2072.
- Learn more about the European phytosanitary rules in Council Directive 2000/29/EC and the new Implementing Directive 2019/523 on the protective measures against the introduction of harmful organisms in the European Union.
- Check which (other) fruit and vegetables require a phytosanitary certificate in the lists of Annex XI and Annex XII of Regulation (EU) 2019/2072).
Information on quality, size, packaging and labelling requirements for avocados can be found in:
- The UNECE standards for avocados
- The Codex Alimentarius Standard for avocados (‘Food code’ of WHO and FAO)
At the very least, avocados should comply with the general quality requirements (see Table 1). At a minimum, Europe almost exclusively requires Class I avocados. Avocados in this class need to be good quality and any defects within the permissible tolerance levels. In no case may the defects affect the fruit flesh, the general appearance of the produce, the quality, the keeping quality and presentation in the avocado packaging.