EU confirms preservatives must be included in citrus labels
Endorsing a previous ruling of the General Court, the Court of Justice confirmed that it is reasonable to warn consumers about the post-harvest treatments used in citrus fruits, given that, unlike fruits with thinner skins, citrus fruits are treated with a lot more chemicals and their skin can be incorporated, in one way or another, to the human diet.
The Court notes that the maximum residue levels for 2-phenylphenol, agricultural fungicide used to brighten and improve the appearance of citrus, were 50 times higher in the case of citrus than in other fruits.
This is highlighting that the General Court rightly decided that consideration of a possible competitive disadvantage was ineffective in the framework of the analysis of the observance of the principle of equal treatment, since such an examination could not question the fact that the citrus producers concerned are not in a situation comparable to that of producers of other fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, the fact that there are no specific regulations regarding the use of preservatives or chemicals in the post-harvest treatment or legislation on consumer information requiring specific labelling informing about pesticide treatments does not prevent the Commission from adopting a rule intended to protect consumers, allowing them to receive adequate and transparent information. ■