No Alphonso mangoes in the UK from May 1st under new food import ruling

Archana Venkatraman

If you are a desi in the UK or anywhere in Europe, stock up on your alphonso (hapoos) mangoes for this season now as it may be prohibited to import mangoes from Thursday, May 1, if the new EU/UK ruling to temporarily ban it comes into effect.

Alphonso mangoes could be banned in the UK
Image: Wikimedia Commons (McKay Savage)

Alphonso mangoes, the king of mangoes, is produced in Maharashtra and Gujarat, is world famous for its aroma and sweetness. Hapoos that has a short shelf life and is available only during the summer months is very popular in the UK too.

The UK reportedly imports nearly 16 million mangoes each year, worth £6m, according to the BBC. But Indian mangoes, including alphonsos, could be temporarily banned from Thursday by the European Commission and UK’s Department of Food (DEFRA) because of plant pests, fruit flies insects and flies in them. The plant pests threaten European salad crops, the European Commission ruled.

The authorities assessed fruits and vegetables imported from India and found that about 207 consignments arriving in the EU in 2013 had pests.

Defra confirmed to the BBC that while the pests did not pose significant health risks to the public, some of these insects (such as the tobacco whitefly) can destroy threaten tomato and cucumber crops. UK’s tomato and cucumber crops industry is worth £321m.

But the UK food department authorities further added that all varieties of mangoes can be sourced from other nations into the UK thereby not affecting the supply.

Alphonso mangoes were banned by the US food authorities in 1989 which was lifted in 2007. But individuals visiting the US cannot carry mangoes with them in their luggage or ship them to the US. The mangoes that enter the US eventually are the ones that are treated to kill the pests and fruit flies.

Seasonal alphonso mangoes are sold in the UK by many online Indian grocery stores such as and Indian specialty food chains such as Shri Krishna Vada Pav.

Are you in the UK and a fan of alphonso mangoes? How do you feel about the ban? 

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