India has blocked arrivals of European foods including olive oil after the European Union banned imports of some mangoes from India, Italian politician Mara Bizzotto claims.

Mara Bizzotto

India is applying “a tough trade protection measure and is boycotting certain European food products,” the Member of the European Parliament said in a written question to the European Commission dated July 24.

“In Mumbai alone, to give but one example, 35 containers full of Italian and Spanish olive oil and hundreds of bottles of wine have, for two whole months, been crammed into warehouses that are not suitable for preserving the products, which by now will have almost certainly perished,” she said.

“This restrictive interpretation of customs regulations by the Indian authorities, to the detriment of European products, was adopted after the EU halted and then banned imports of the Alphonso variety of mango.”

Bizzotto said Indian authorities are now enforcing more stringently their rules on food fraud and labelling. “Indian Customs have therefore seized, and blocked in their ports, tonnes of food and alcohol from Europe because their labels do not indicate the precise content of salt, as prescribed by Indian health legislation.”

Bizzotto went on to ask what the Commission will do to “resolve the situation and protect free competition” and if it will “provide financial assistance to European producers who have suffered damage.”

According to the Hindu Business Line, the EU imposed a ban on import of mangoes, bitter gourd, taro, eggplant and snake gourd from India in May after pests were detected in some consignments. India sees the ban as unjustified as it has applied stringent packaging and inspection protocols to prevent contamination.

The publication said a team of EU quality inspectors will visit India’s packaging facilities next month, after which the ban is expected to be lifted if they find measures to be adequate.

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