Xylella fastidiosa- France control system not better than Italian one

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Directorate General Health and Food Safety of the European Commission in France from 3 to 12 February 2016. The objective of the audit was to evaluate the plant health situation and control measures applied for Xylella fastidiosa in the two regions of France where there are outbreaks of the bacterium.

In 2015 France carried out a comprehensive and risk based Xylella fastidiosa survey at country level and ran an intensified awareness raising campaign. The high level of alert and awareness promoted by the French authorities ensured the prompt finding and identification of the outbreaks.

Measures were implemented quickly within and outside the demarcated areas. Additional human and financial resources were mobilised, a network for large-scale sampling and laboratory testing was established and the relevant stakeholders were sufficiently informed and involved.

The demarcation, insect vector treatment, removal and destruction of host and symptomatic plants within the 100m radius of the infected plants were carried out fully in line with the provisions of Commission Decision 2015/789/EU.

However, the intensity of the surveys carried out within the buffer zones is significantly lower than that required by Commission Decision 2015/789/EU. Sampling and testing of specified plants within a radius of 100m around the plants confirmed to be infected is also not in line with the Decision. This does not allow the accurate determination of the spread of Xylella fastidiosa. In the case of outbreaks where the eradication work was completed, the sites were not revisited to remove newly identified host plants which could be infected.

Nurseries located in demarcated areas are allowed to move specified plants outside those areas without fulfilling all requirements of the Decision. It increases the risk of the movement of the pathogen to new areas.

Due to the number of recent outbreaks and the size of the demarcated area the French authorities were still implementing a large part of the measures at the time of the audit.

France has taken a number of measures showing its commitment to eradicating Xylella fastidiosa. However, the non-compliances detected reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the eradication efforts. The risk of spread with human assistance is mitigated to some extent by that all outbreaks of Xylella fastidiosa to date have been recorded in areas with no large-scale production of plants for planting of the major hosts. The eradication efforts are further compromised by the high number of outbreaks and level of spread, particularly in Corsica. This is compounded by the multitude of identified host plants, the inaccessibility of risky areas and by uncertainties about hosts and the mode of transmission.

EU Regulation n. 665/2014: “Mountain product”

This Regulation, implementation of Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 (“quality package”), establishes the conditions necessary to use the optional quality term “mountain product”.

In particular, in order to prevent consumers being misled, it refers to products of animal origin (Article 1), feed (Article 2), apiculture products (Article 3), products of plant origin (Article 4), other ingredients (Article 5) and to the processing operations that can be carried out outside of the mountain areas, but not as far as 30km from these areas (Article 6).

Article 1 – Products of animal origin

1.   The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products produced by animals in mountain areas as defined in Article 31(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and processed in such areas.

2.   The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products made from animals that are reared for at least the last two thirds of their life in those mountain areas, if the products are processed in such areas.

3.   By way of derogation from paragraph 2, the term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products made from transhumant animals that have been reared for at least one quarter of their life in transhumance grazing on pastures in mountain areas.

Article 2 – Feedstuffs

1.   For the purposes of Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, feedstuffs for farm animals shall be deemed to come essentially from mountain areas if the proportion of the annual animal diet that cannot be produced in mountain areas, expressed as a percentage of dry matter, does not exceed 50 % and, in the case of ruminants, 40 %.

2.   By way of derogation from paragraph 1, as regards pigs, the proportion of feedstuffs that cannot be produced in mountain areas, expressed as a percentage of dry matter, shall not exceed 75 % of the annual animal diet.

3.   Paragraph 1 shall not apply to feedstuffs for transhumant animals referred to in Article 1(3) when reared outside mountain areas.

Article 3 – Products of beekeeping

1.   The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products of beekeeping if the bees have collected the nectar and the pollen only in mountain areas.

2.   By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, sugar fed to bees shall not be required to come from mountain areas.

Article 4 – Products of plant origin

By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, the term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products of plant origin only if the plant is grown in mountain areas as defined in Article 31(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012.

Article 5 – Ingredients

When used in products referred to in Articles 1 and 4, the following ingredients may come from outside mountain areas, provided that they do not represent more than 50 % of the total weight of the ingredients:

(a)

products not listed in Annex I to the Treaty; and

(b)

herbs, spices and sugar.

Article 6 – Processing operations outside mountain areas

1.   By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and Article 1(1) and (2) of this Regulation, the following processing operations may take place outside mountain areas, provided that the distance from the mountain area in question does not exceed 30 km:

(a)

processing operations for the production of milk and milk products in processing facilities in place on 3 January 2013;

(b)

slaughtering of animals and cutting and deboning of carcasses;

(c)

pressing of olive oil.

2.   As regards products processed on their territory, Member States may determine that the derogation in paragraph 1, point (a) will not apply or that the processing facilities must be located within a distance, to be specified, of less than 30 km from the mountain area in question.

Entry into force and application: June 26th, 2014