It is opportune to let you know how the situation is regarding the Seville orange market. We believe that people should be aware of this, as well, so that they know first hand that working with certified organic Seville oranges is the only guarantee they have when making quality, ethically sound marmalades.
The truth is that the price of the Seville orange is being cut more and more because the Seville oranges produced by the ornamental trees lining the streets of Seville and the neighboring towns are being picked and taken to fresh fruit storehouses where they are packed and exported to Perpignan and other distributors who send them directly to supermarkets, or, also, converted into pulp which is then bought by many marmalade companies to make their preserves.
We have confirmed through testimonies, photographs, etc., from the orange pickers that the oranges come from the streets and not from farms (organic or not orchards), and are sent to the UK, France and other countries. The information about picking oranges from the street is in the press, social media…
Also here, in a news item on the harvesting of these Seville oranges from the streets of Mairena del Alcor (Seville), where the famous, century-old family company Gospa Citrus is located. Gospa Citrus has been growing its Seville oranges in organic orchards for decades. “In total, 35,000 kilos of Seville oranges will be collected and “mainly” destined for the agri-food industry for the production of marmalade”, says the Town Council’s Planning Delegate.
In fact, the large pulp factories are supplied with oranges from the street. The pulp is exported to the marmalade factories in the UK and with it they make the marmalade. We have information from some of these factories in Spain that they pick oranges from street, we even know how many kilos they take from the streets!
We are aware of that the people in the UK and in other countries of the marmalade tradition do not know that more than 50% of the time they are consuming marmalade made from street oranges with no sanitary control (their peel is adding all effects of pollution, more info here, in specifically air pollution), lacking even the most elemental traceability of the product.
The Seville orange picked from the streets entering into the storehouses to be exported has produced a collapse in price in this sector, due to the fact that the storehouses, when they receive the street oranges, only pay for the cost of cutting it, the product is free.
This represents, apart from the important health and traceability problems, disrespect of the established labor norms, agreements and commitments.
The problem is, moreover, grave for the agriculturists who are growing all year because they see that they cannot sell their oranges and they leave them on the tree because the factories and storehouses are using street oranges. More than 5 million kg of Seville oranges from the street enter in the market every year with no sanitary control. Any reference to the much mentioned food safety? Today, on the other hand, we already know that there are chemical agents that cause illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and these are related to the toxic products that we consume and breathe.
The matter is serious since the oranges are exposed to car exhaust, which sits on the orange peel and then is mixed into the marmalade (so eaten), toxic products such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, non‐burnt hydrocarbon, iron compounds and sulfurous dioxide; to be more exact, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), an organization of the OMS, has ruled that the gases emitted by diesel exhaust tubes are cancerous to the human being. This is the outlook and people need to know about it.
This news, if it were known, would perhaps cause a debacle in the UK, but we aren’t sure.
This is an unfair practice for the organic citrus sector and companies that grow or buy from the field. This practice is carried out by companies that use oranges from the street to lower prices or make pulp that they sell to marmalade factories. Worst of all, this practice is done in collusion with local governments that are directly involved, resulting in the death of the countryside and a lack of commitment to people and the environment. Nothing new under the sun: people’s health and the future of the environment come last.
It is the people and a healthy future for all which is why there should be pressure for the situation to change.
Everybody should know firsthand what is happening in respect to the fraud in this sector of the Seville orange. Sometimes, even, testimonials come from people who affirm that some important stores in the area sometimes receive oranges from the street to export and mix them with oranges from the field, violating sanitary laws.
The companies that produce organic Seville oranges have the guarantee that the oranges are produced in the field in accordance with the rules of organic farming, with permanent surveillance and with all the added quality standards. Global Gap certified oranges could not be sold in supermarkets if they are from the street, this would be a great fraud. But, it seems that there are those who do.
In summary, the Seville oranges from the streets of the city of Seville and its villages, as well as those from the streets of other cities in southern Spain, should not be placed on the market, either fresh or in pulp, for the following reasons:
– They are not organic (watch out for fraud). In fact, they have no sanitary control and are introduced into the market, they are sponges for the pollution caused by vehicles and industry.
– They do not respect the collective agreement of farm workers.
– They do not have traceability, which is required for all other foodstuffs.
– It is unethical. Principles and ethics are very important for the future of the countryside and the health of the people, in a horizon that bets on the future and not only on profit, something that leads to the destruction of what already exists.
If you care about the quality of the fruit, the pectin levels, the amount of juice, but also about ethics in the field and with the people, workers’ rights, the future of the field, traceability, and what you eat, always buy certified organic, and check if your jar of jam from the industry is indeed from organic Seville oranges. Otherwise we should think…