EFSA: No cure for olive plants pest, the whole EU is at risk

At the start of 2019, a new xylella outbreak was reported again in Italy, in the Monte Argentario in Tuscany

In two opinions released on Wednesday (15 May), the EU Food Safety Agency confirmed that there is still no known way to eradicate the xylella fastidiosa from a sick olive tree. Control measures can contain the disease, but they have to be applied, EFSA’s director told EURACTIV.

EFSA’s Plant Health Panel (PLH) updated the agency’s assessment of the notorious olive trees killer, publishing two opinions on the risks to plant health and on the effectiveness of in planta control measures.

The xylella bacteria mainly affect olive trees, with infected plants displaying scorched leaves, dried branches and rapid deterioration, which in the most severe cases can lead to the death of the tree.

First detected in Italy in 2013, xylella fastidiosa started to spread rapidly across Southern Europe. It reached France, where it was first identified in Corsica and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in 2015, as well as Spain, where the area currently affected by the disease amounts to more than 134.000 hectares since October 2016.

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