US cherries will be prohibited from entering France this season, after France temporarily banned the import and sale of cherries from countries where the chemical product dimethoate can be used on the fruit or the tree.
The ban, which came into place on 22 April this year, followed the banning of the chemical's use on domestic products.
Dimethoate is used to fight Drosphila suzukii, an Asian fruit fly that causes considerable damage to cherry orchards, but which the French suspect causes damage to human health.
According to a US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS) report, the EU has not officially reacted to the French decision, but fruit importers and traders fear that France may soon implement similar domestic bans against other EU approved pesticides or chemicals.
The ban will de facto suspend imports of US cherries, valued at around US$1m annually – the US has a niche market for late summer cherries from mid-July to August, supplied by Oregon and Washington.
"French fruit traders and importers hope the EU Commission will strike down the French decree as not legally founded and against EU single market rules," the report noted. "Traders and importers fear that if the EU commission does not react promptly, France will implement similar domestic bans against other EU apporved pesticides or chemicals, effectively shutting down the free movement of EU and third-country fruit and vegetables into France."