“[The department] notified the producer and withdrew the production unit in question from further exports to the EU in the current season,” it said in a statement.
“Other fruit types from that production unit already in the export pipeline have also been identified and will be dealt with accordingly.”
The department said the Netherlands’ phytosanitary authorities confirmed that tests had shown CBS was in a consignment of lemons being exported from South Africa to the EU on Thursday.
The department was notified on Friday. It said it had launched an investigation in collaboration with the citrus industry to find the possible cause for CBS in the fruit.
Based on the findings, remedial measures would be evaluated and implemented and all relevant information reported to the EU.
“South Africa has gone to great lengths and expense to ensure compliance with EU requirements through its comprehensive CBS risk management system.
“This system was further strengthened for the current export season based on detailed investigations of all CBS non-compliances reported in the EU in 2013,” it said.
In November last year, the EU stopped importing citrus from South Africa over concerns that CBS could infect local crops.
But in May, South Africa’s largest trading partner ruled it would not implement a ban but follow stricter requirements for South African citrus being exported to Europe, which forced local growers to use more chemical fungicides.
The department on Tuesday said from this week onwards the new EU measures had to be complied with. These include additional pre-export sampling and inspection requirements.
“Strengthening and strict implementation of risk management processes for CBS will continue in order to ensure that trade with the EU continues,” the department said.
“The EU remains an important market for South African citrus, therefore full compliance with the EU’s import requirements is critical.”