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South African citrus exporters are still waiting to learn the results of a pesk risk assessment report relating to the disease citrus black spot, with industry leader Justin Chadwick of the country's Citrus Growers' Association suggesting the document has been completed but won't be made available until the third week of February.

The report, compiled by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), comes in response to growing calls among European citrus producers to ban South African citrus imports into the EU on the basis of a purported risk of black spot establishing itself on the continent.

South Africa, which was the subject of a temporary – but ultimately symbolic – ban at the end of last season, has strongly opposed the move to impose a permanent ban and claims the risk is a minimal one that can be managed using the existing protocol.

'The ban on South African citrus imposed by the EU was for the 2012/13 season,' Chadwick confirmed. 'This ban was therefore lifted on 1 January 2014. EFSA's pest risk assessment has been completed but not released, so directive 2000/29/EU is therefore still the measure applying to EU exports in 2014, and growers should prepare accordingly, ie. appropriate orchard treatment and symptomless fruit.'

While it is generally agreed that EFSA will release its findings in week eight, the EU's own standing committee on plant health will most probably take time to consider them before deciding on any course of action.