The European Food Safety Authority has updated its assessment of the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa to plants and crops in the EU. The new assessment provides new insights and conclusions on controlling existing outbreaks of this pest and preventing further spread in the EU.
Controlling the threat
EFSA’s Plant Health Panel (PLH) used computer modelling to simulate how X. fastidiosa spreads across short and long distances under different conditions. The modelling showed the importance of implementing control measures, such as those specified by the European Commission, to prevent further spread and even eradicate outbreaks. It illustrated the relative effectiveness of using different-sized buffer zones to control an infected area.
The simulations also demonstrated the importance of controlling the insects that are known to transmit the pathogen in Europe and minimising the delay between detection and implementation of control measures such as removing infected plants and establishing demarcated areas.
The information on risk of establishment will be valuable in setting up surveillance and detection programmes in different Member States. EFSA is currently developing survey guidelines on X. fastidiosa with plant health organisations across the EU.