The Centre on Thursday clarified that there was no threat of pests entering India with the fruit being imported from the US, adding that procedures in consonance with the international convention were being followed before permitting import of apples into India.
"There are no reports of interception of any quarantine pests from the imported apple consignments from USA nor any non-compliance of Indian plant quarantine regulations," the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement here in response to media reports stating that apples being imported from America were not being quarantined properly.
As per the procedure for quarantine of plant material entering India, the exporting country has to provide necessary phyto-sanitary certificate and the exporter has to meet certain conditions to ensure that no infestation enters India. Once at Indian ports of arrival, the consignments are inspected and approval is granted only after the consignment has passed through an established procedure.
The import of apples is regulated under Destructive Insects and Pests Act, 1914 and Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 and its amendments.
In consonance with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) is undertaken before permitting the import of the commodity into India as per the said Order, the Ministry said.
Besides, the exporting country is required to mandatorily certify in the Phytosanitary Certificate that the consignment is free from specified pest and diseases listed in Schedule VI of the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003.
In addition, every imported consignment of apples is also thoroughly screened on arrival for presence of any pests and diseases of quarantine significance.