Plant Harmful organisms in the EU – Annual report 2014

Article 16 (1) and (2) of Directive 2000/29/EC, requires that Member States immediately notify the European Commission and other Member States, of the presence or appearance of harmful organisms found on their territory or part of it, as well as the measures taken to eradicate or avoid the spread of the harmful organism concerned.

This is required whether the harmful organisms are regulated (specifically listed in European Union (EU) legislation) or not. The European Commission analyses and reports on these notifications on a continuous basis and provides monthly reports on notifications received to the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, section Plant Health, in order to assist risk management decisions at EU level.

This report provides an overview of the notifications received from Member States in 2014, as well as the main trends in the period 2010 to 2014.

The total number of notifications received annually has remained relatively stable since 2010. In 2014, a total of 220 notifications were received from 27 Member States. Approximately two thirds of these related to regulated harmful organisms. 19 were updates to previous notifications.

Some of the notifications received in 2014 give rise to concern because of the seriousness of the particular harmful organisms and because of their first finding or their spread in the EU territory. Some of these harmful organisms are currently non–regulated in the EU. However, because of the potential risk they present, they are listed in the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation Alert list, i.e. identified as good candidates for a Pest Risk Analysis.

At EU level, actions have been planned or are being taken with a view to addressing these risks. As in previous years, the number of notifications varies significantly between Member States which could reflect a different interpretation of Member States’ obligations pursuant to Article 16 (1) and (2).

Furthermore, despite some improvement compared to previous year, notifications still present a consistent lack of certain information which hinders the risk management decision process and capacity to have a clear picture of the effectiveness of phytosanitary measures implemented and of the status of the different harmful organisms in the EU. The adoption of Decision 2014/917/EU in December 2014, which sets out detailed rules for the implementation of Article 16 (1) and (2), combined with the development of a web-based notification system (EUROPHYT) and a common protocol for notifications, are expected to foster the harmonisation of practices between Member States. This should help timely decisions at EU level for an increased level of protection of the EU territory against phytosanitary risks.

In 2014, a large proportion of the outbreak notifications (72%) either did not make any reference to the source of the infestation or stated that it was unknown. Out of the 201 outbreak notifications, only 57 provided information on the possible source of the infestation. As regards movements within the EU, infested planting material is often considered as the likely source of the infestation.

Between the new risks identified the well known Xylella fastidiosa in coffee plants was the most dangerous. Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium listed in Annex IAI, was first found in the EU in 2013, in the province of Lecce in Italy where a sudden decline of olives was observed. This finding was closely followed up by the Commission in consultation with the Standing Committee, and EU emergency measures were adopted in February 2014. In addition, a Commission audit was carried out to the affected area in February 2014, followed by 3 further audits since then to assess the situation and control measures implemented by the Competent Authorities. Amongst other exchanges of information with Italy, three notifications were received in 2014 in which Italy reported new vectors, new host plants and the extent of the infestation in the Lecce region (see also section 4.2.1). Regarding the findings on Coffea plants referred to in section 4.2.1, an import ban on such plants from Costa Rica and Honduras has been introduced with Commission Implementing Decision 2015/789/EU to protect the EU from further introductions from these origins.

For more information see also the EU Commission infographic.

Food recalls in EU – Week 48

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we find two recalls from consumers in EU, between the alert notifications:

– Allergens: undeclared nuts in pesto sauce (pesto verde), following company’s own check. Origin and notification from Italy, distributed also to United Kingdom;

 Composition: unauthorised 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin United States, notification from Spain, distributed also to Netherlands.

Between the information for attention, followed by a recall from the consumers:

– Non pathogenic micro-organisms: mould infestation in lemon dressing, following an official control on the market. Origin and notification from Spain, distributed also to Guinea;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in ham onion salami, following company’s own check. Origin and notification from Germany;

– Food additives and flavourings: unauthorised use of colour E 102 – tartrazine in yellow noodles, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand, notification from Cyprus.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product:

– Pesticides residues: dimethoate in mango, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand, notification from France, distributed also to Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in chilled speck, following company’s own check. Origin Italy, notification from France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in chilled chili sausage, following an official control on the market. Origin and notification from Poland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in onion flavoured meat spread, following a company’s own check. Origin and notification from Poland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Mycotoxins: Ochratoxin A in dried figs, following an official control on the market. Origin Turkey (via Slovakia), notification from Austria;

Heavy metals: mercury in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via Italy), notification from Slovenia.

In Spain we have also a seizure of frozen swordfish from Mozambique for presence of mercury, following an official control on the market.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, Salmonella spp. in frozen cooked clams (Meretrix spp) and frozen Venus clams from Vietnam, Salmonella Weltevreden in fresh centella (Centella asiatica) from Sri Lanka, aflatoxins in pistachio nuts from Turkey and in groundnuts from Egypt, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen boneless bovine meat from Brazil, missing import declaration for curry leaves from India, unauthorised substance carbofuran in pomelo from China, unauthorised novel food ingredient Terminalia chebulain in sugar syrup and Phyllanthus emblica in gooseberry sugar syrup from Pakistan, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in brown beans from Nigeria, dead insects and live insects in dried figs from Turkey infested with larvae of insects.

For food contact material we have border rejections for migration of nickel from stainless coffee makers from India, migration of chromium and of manganese from kitchen utensils from China, too high level of overall migration from gloves in latex/nitril from Malaysia and  from plastic cups from China, migration of chromium and of  manganese and too high level of overall migration from steel knive from Brazil and migration of formaldehyde and of melamine  from melamine tableware sets from China.