The recent ban on the European import of Indian Alphonsos has sparked off protests in Britain. The ban has left many British Indians disgruntled and deprived of enjoying their favourite summer fruit. Alphonso mangoes along with eggplant, the taro plant, bitter gourd and snake gourd were banned on May 1st after British officials found fruit flies in the shipment last year. According to them, such flies could infect the shipment, threaten crops and would be detrimental to public health when consumed.
While the controversy over adulteration snowballs, many British Indians are against going without their favourite Alphonsos and the businesses that supply them are also losing out financially.
Ahmed Khan, working on his stall in south London says, "It's not fair.. it's going to mean we miss out on half our mangoes this year, half our business," Rohit Shah, of nearby Bhavin's grocers, said that the Alphonso, which can be eaten alone or used in everything from lassis to chutney, had no rival in terms of taste. "Even during the time of the British Empire they said they were the best," he added.
The European Union's largest Indian community is settled in Britain. Out of a total population of some 60 million, British Indians count up to around 1.4 million. Looking at this astounding proportion of British Indians in the total British population, one lawmaker raised the issue of the ban in the House of Commons last week. Keith Vaz factually enumerated how British citizens consumed 12 million mangoes last year alone and thereby he predicted that the ban would cost British businesses over USD 16.8 million.
"The EU has treated an important trading ally, which represents a sixth of the population of the globe, with disrespect," said Vaz, of the opposition Labour party, in a special debate.