`France Bans Vegetables from Apulia

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France Bans Vegetables from Apulia

Apr. 8, 2015
Isabel Putinja

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France has announced a ban on the import of veg­eta­bles and plants from the Apu­lia (Puglia) region of South Italy over fears that the Xylella fas­tidiosa bac­terium may spread to France.

The bac­terium has infected tens of thou­sands of acres of olive groves in the Salento region of Apu­lia, prompt­ing the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to rec­om­mend chop­ping down up to 11 mil­lion olive trees to con­trol the out­break and stop it from spread­ing to other parts of Europe.

A press release by the French min­istry of agri­cul­ture pub­lished on April 3, 2015 announced the intro­duc­tion of a ban on the import into France of 102 dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles and plants which are sus­cep­ti­ble to Xyella fas­tidiosa from regions which have been infected by the bac­terium, includ­ing Apu­lia. The deci­sion was taken, the min­istry said, in order to avoid the poten­tially seri­ous eco­nomic con­se­quences of a pos­si­ble spread of the bac­terium to France.

Spread by insects, Xylella fas­tidiosa can attack a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent plant species like cof­fee, grapes, and cit­rus and other fruit trees. There is no known effec­tive way to erad­i­cate the bac­te­ria, other than destroy­ing infected trees and plants to pre­vent its spread.

The French min­is­ter for agri­cul­ture, Stéphane Le Foll, has been call­ing for EU mea­sures to be taken to con­trol the out­break since Jan­u­ary 16, 2015. These mea­sures are still being dis­cussed by experts from the 28 EU mem­ber states but a con­sen­sus is yet to be reached. In the mean­time, the French agri­cul­ture min­istry has decided to intro­duce mea­sures on the national level by call­ing for the ban.

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Coldiretti (Con­fed­er­azione Nazionale Colti­va­tori Diretti), Italy’s national farm­ers’ orga­ni­za­tion, has responded to the French ban by call­ing it dis­pro­por­tion­ate and dis­re­spect­ful” and accus­ing France of start­ing a trade war.



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