Britain is taking action to overturn the European Union ban on import of mangoes from India though it is unlikely to be lifted before the end of this mango season, leading Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Chairman of the UK's Home Affairs Committee, Vaz, said he spoke to Lord De Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, today to ask for an update on the efforts made by (Department for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs) to lift the EU ban on the importation of Alphonso mangoes from India.
Vaz said, "I was very pleased to hear from the Minister that action is finally being taken to try to overturn the EU ban on the importation of Alphonso mangoes. Lord De Mauley informed me that the EU is planning to send an audit to India in September this year.
"While this is good news, it is clear that the ban will not be lifted before the end of this mango season.
“We sincerely hope that it will be overturned in time for next season before it can again be allowed to have a disastrous impact on peoples' livelihoods.
"I am going to arrange a meeting with the UK's Food and Environment Research Agency and urge them to go to India to give support in meeting the guidelines set out by the EU.
“Britain is India's best friend in the EU and we must do everything to help," Vaz said.
Vaz has been spearheading efforts in the UK to get the ban lifted.
He has urged MPs to back the ‘Reverse the Mango Ban’ campaign, appealing for swift British government intervention and has also raised the matter with Prime Minister David Cameron.
The European Union's ‘temporary ban’, supported by DeFRA, came into force on May 1 and was to remain effective until December 2015 after authorities in Brussels found consignments infested with fruit flies that they feared could damage European salad crops.