Plant Health: The Belgian Nurseryman and Growers Federation (AVBS) has reported that Xylella fastidiosa is present at a trading company in West Flanders. This is the first time the bacterial pathogen has been identified in Belgium.
The Belgian FASFC (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) discovered three infected olive trees during a routine check on the company. The trees had been ‘extracted’ from Spain. The trees were destroyed and FASFC has described the discovery as a ‘find, not an outbreak’. The Belgian company has reportedly now destroyed all its olive trees.
Around the infected trees, no vectors are present after testing. Further assessments have started, to confirm the irradiation of all traces.
According to the AVBS, the Spanish authorities have now examined the Spanish supplier of the infected olive trees. The AVBS advises companies that have imported olive trees from countries where Xylella is present, and show signs of dehydration, to report it to the FASFC for further investigation. The Belgian AVBS report is available here.
Although the Belgian interception does not affect the UK market currently, members still need to remain vigilant with their own imports and purchases of potential host plants. A printable infographic detailing which species are most susceptible to Xylella in the UK is available here.
Up to date information on what you can do as a business to prevent Xylella’s entry into the UK is available from the HTA here. This includes an Information Pack to use in your business. It is highly important to keep checking for updates on Xylella.