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Almond Byte, October 2022: EU Market Update, Tree Nut Reports and Chief Ag Negotiator Process


EU Regulatory & Trade Update

The overall aflatoxin rejections for California almonds in Europe have trended down, from 32 in 2017-18 to 2 so far this year. However, the industry continues to face other challenges associated with aflatoxin rejections, namely, denial of goods returned to origin for rejected shipments in some EU countries such as Spain and Denmark. This is an issue ABC has been actively working with EU regulators to harmonize across all member states so shippers can opt to bring rejected shipments back if they choose to do so. The ongoing discussions on revising Articles 66 and 67 import control procedures promise to harmonize the handling of rejected goods across EU member states. ABC will keep the industry updated on any developments in this regard.

In other EU regulatory news, the implementation of some of the Farm-to-Fork-related regulatory proposals has slowed down, but not completely paused, as the EU grapples with the fallout from the Ukraine-Russia war. ABC has responded to stakeholder consultations and shared industry viewpoints on important issues such as the possibility of applying EU environmental and health regulations to imported products and creating a mutually acceptable sustainability framework.

ABC has received inquiries from industry members regarding European Commission Recommendation 553/2022 related to monitoring alternaria toxin levels in foods, including tenuazonic acid (TeA) for tree nuts. According to Dr. Jim Adaskaveg, Professor of Microbiology and Plant Pathology at the University of California, Riverside, there is very low concern about Alternaria on almond-producing inoculum levels to reach detectable mycotoxin levels. Primarily, the almond tree may be affected with “Alternaria leaf spot” disease but there is rarely any evidence of hull infections. In general, the kernels are well protected by the shell and hull and spore contamination would have to be extremely high to detect mycotoxins. ABC has initiated testing of infected samples to generate baseline data.

ABC has invited our EU regulatory affairs consultant, Prospero, to provide updates on the current EU status in implementing its Green Deal strategies during an international trade panel at the Annual Conference coming up in December. For more information, contact

USDA Tree Nut Annual Reports - Highlights for India and the EU

USDA recently published its annual Tree Nuts Reports for the EU and India. The EU imported more than $1.4 billion of almonds from the U.S. in MY 21/22 (93% market share) and only $82 million from Australia, its second-largest supplier. USDA forecasts predict that the EU’s two largest almond producers, Spain and Italy, will see significant decreases in production in MY 2022/23. For India, USDA forecasts a slight decrease in Indian almond imports to 148,000 metric tons (MT) for MY 2022/23. The U.S. is the largest almond supplier to India with 84% market share, followed by Australia at 8%. Domestic production is predicted to decrease by 4% to 4,000 MT.

USTR Chief Ag Negotiator On Hold

Last month we reported that Doug McKalip’s nomination for chief agricultural negotiator at USTR was moving along smoothly, but since then citing transparency concerns, a Democratic Senator placed a hold on his nomination. This hold may delay McKalip’s confirmation. However, Alexis Taylor’s Senate Ag confirmation hearing held on Sept 22 went very well. Ms. Taylor is the current Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and was nominated to be the USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs. There is optimism that she will be confirmed soon after Congress returns after the November elections.