Ban on fresh curry leaves disappoint British Asians

Tuesday 11th August 2015 12:57 EDT

Fresh curry leaves are being totally banned in the UK, Uday Dholakia, Chairman of the National Asian Business Association has revealed. He confirmed: “Imports of fresh curry leaves will no longer be permitted into the UK from, 18 August 2015. This follows a close liaison by the UK regulators and the third countries involved in exporting such leaves and investigations into options to ensure that such leaves can be exported free of the causal organism of citrus greening disease and the insect vectors which carry it”.

The UK Regulators, namely DEFRA “restricted imports to those from Ghana, Gambia, Kenya and the Dominican Republic which offered the best prospects of demonstrating compliance with the EU requirements, or proposing an alternative system which offered equivalent guarantees. This was on a trial basis, pending development of possible cases to be submitted to the European Commission” confirmed Dholakia.

The regulators unfortunately have not been able to identify any countries which are able to meet the EU requirements, on freedom from both the pathogen and its vectors, which would allow imports of fresh curry leaves to continue. Neither has it been possible to identify alternative import requirements, which could reliably ensure freedom from the pathogen and its vectors in curry leaves.

By allowing imports until 18 August this will avoid blocking consignments already in the process of being exported. From 18 August, only dried and frozen curry leaves will be permitted to be imported. It remains possible for imports of fresh curry leaves to resume in future, if third countries are able to demonstrate to the Commission and Plant Health Standing Committee that they can meet the EU import requirements.

The curry leaves from India were banned earlier, now it is being extending to African countries from August 18th has left the South Indian, Tamil and Sri Lankan communities with disappointment, as the fresh leaves are a very integral part of their curries and dishes.  

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