Controls on marketing standards for fresh fruits and vegetables aim to confirm the quality of these products and thus to provide professional purchasers and consumers with a guarantee of their characteristics, such as sufficient physiological development or ripeness.
The products must be "sound, fair and of marketable quality", which means that they must be intact, free of rotting or alterations that would make them improper for consumption, clean, pratically free from visible foreign matter, practically free from pests or alterations in pulp due to pests, free from abnormal outside humidity, or any foreign odor or flavor.
In general, fresh fruits and vegetables (including cultivated mushrooms) put on the market in the European Union (EU) must comply with European marketing standards at all marketing stages.
There are specific marketing standards applying to certain types of fruit and vegetables. These standards may cover definition of classes (extra, I or II), specific labeling requirement, calibration rules, packaging or presentation requirements. The following fruits and vegetables are covered by specific marketing standards:
- citrus fruits
- lettuces, curled-leaved endives and broad-leaved endives
- peaches and nectarines
- sweet peppers
- table grapes
All other types of fruits and vegetables are covered by the general marketing standard (sound and fair marketable quality).
Bananas, potatoes and sweet corn are exempt from general marketing standards as they are to meet special requirements and standards. Green, non-ripe bananas must meet a marketing standard defined in a specific regulation.
The Administration of Agricultural Technical Services verifies whether marketing standards and regulations such as labeling (country of origin, variety, trade class, etc.) for fresh fruit and vegetables are met.
In the case of non-compliance with the marketing standards, a non-compliance report will be prepared by the control agency.
Products that are non-compliant with standards cannot be sold, nor imported or exported from the EU. These fruits and vegetables cannot be transported without the approval of the control agency.
The holder of the goods can then decide whether to bring all or part of the goods into compliance (by correcting the labeling, or by eliminating the non-compliant fruits or vegetables).
Following a new control, the goods that have been brought into compliance may be marketed.
The horticultural service of the Administration of Agricultural Technical Services is responsible for controlling the application of the marketing standards for fruits and vegetables. Grand-Ducal police agents and agents of the Customs and Excise Administration can also perform these controls.