` Food Safety Authority Warns Bacteria Threatens Olive Trees Across Europe - Olive Oil Times

Food Safety Authority Warns Bacteria Threatens Olive Trees Across Europe

Feb. 5, 2015
Isabel Putinja

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Following the recent epi­demic of Xylella fas­tidiosa in the Apulia region of south Italy which affected sev­eral thou­sands hectares of olive plan­ta­tions, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has warned that the bac­terium could spread to olive groves across Europe.

A recent study pub­lished by the EFSA’s Panel on Plant Health, has exam­ined the risk to plant health posed by Xylella fas­tidiosa across the European Union (EU) and iden­ti­fied var­i­ous risk reduc­tion options. The bac­terium is car­ried by insects and causes a vari­ety of dis­eases in many dif­fer­ent types of plants.

At the moment, only one strain of Xylella fas­tidiosa is preva­lent in Europe and is restricted to the Apulia region where it is under con­trol. But the study warns that the bac­terium could spread to other coun­tries in the EU and cause sig­nif­i­cant crop dam­age and loss. Pests car­ry­ing Xylella fas­tidiosa can sur­vive dur­ing trans­port and be present in plants grown in nurs­eries for replant­ing else­where.

While the use of insec­ti­cides could con­trol its spread, the study says that this can impact neg­a­tively on the envi­ron­ment. Approaches to con­trol­ling the prob­lem sug­gested focus on pre­ven­tion and the con­tain­ment of out­breaks which would include mea­sures like pest-free pro­duc­tion sites, sur­veil­lance, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes to cer­tify that plants are free of Xylella fas­tidiosa, screen house pro­duc­tion, con­trol of insects, test­ing for plant prop­a­ga­tion mate­r­ial, and ade­quate prepa­ra­tion, treat­ment and inspec­tion of plant con­sign­ments.


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