Addressing problems caused by broken nets (med-fly protocol for fruit vegetables)

In Japan, in principle, there is a ban on fruit vegetables from a large number of countries including the Netherlands, due to strict quarantine status of the med-fly (Ceratitis capitata). However, Japan and the Netherlands agreed on a so-called med-fly protocol, and one of the conditions of the protocol is that all shipments for Japan must be protected against contamination by means of special nets that meet the specifications set by the Japanese authorities.

If nets are found to be broken at the time of import inspection, or if it is not sure when the damage has occurred (e.g., during loading in the Netherlands, during transfer or upon arrival in Japan), the Japanese authorities consider it as a violation of the protocol. This means that the import ban will come into force and the shipment must be rejected.

In this case, the Dutch exporter is advised to follow the following procedure:

  1. The Dutch exporter investigates the cause of breakage.
  2. The party responsible for the breakage, e.g., airline or transport company, issues a declaration. The declaration should explain when, where, how and by whom the breakage was made and must be signed by a responsible official of the company.
  3. The original copy of the declaration should be sent to the Japanese Plant Protection Station at the port of entry.
  4. The Japanese authorities will make a final decision on whether or not the submitted documents may be accepted.

Note: If nobody knows when and how the breakage has occurred, then the shipment will be destroyed or sent back to the Netherlands. Japan will not accept fumigation because the product does not comply with the conditions set out in the protocol.