‘Succot saved’ after government releases 600 etrogs

‘Succot saved’ after government releases 600 etrogs

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers thanked the Board and top importer Stephen Colman for 'coming to this pragmatic arrangement'

Etrogs for sale!
Etrogs for sale!

A leading etrog importer has thanked community leaders for helping “save Succot” after health authorities seized a hefty batch of the festive fruit.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confiscated 600 etrogs this week after they fell foul of heightened import requirements of citrus fruits with stalks.

The Board of Deputies immediately swung into action, coordinating with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and leading etrog-importer Stephen Colman, to ensure the batch were made available to Jews in Manchester – but only after their stalks were trimmed to meet new rules.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers thanked all the parties involved “for coming to this pragmatic arrangement which will ensure that the UK Jewish community can fully celebrate Succot while ensuring that our precious plant health is protected.

We plan to stay in touch with the Board of Deputies and importers as the season progresses to ensure this runs and smoothly as possible and work together to prevent similar issues in future years.”

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, said the “timely intervention potentially saved Sukkot”. She also praised her staff, Colman and the government.

Stephen Colman, said: “You can imagine my shock and concern when I was told my first consignment of etrogs had been held at Manchester Airport with a view to their destruction or deportation. Or my fear when I realised that this could have implications for all 10,000 etrogs due for import to the UK this year. This would have had a serious impact on the ability of Jews to observe Succot.”

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