FERA inspection regime detailed for pest exclusion

The Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) has detailed restrictions to prevent the entry of Asian longhorn beetle into the UK following the country's first outbreak of the pest.

A representative said: "The beetle is an Annex I pest in the EU Plant Health Directive. This means its introduction is prohibited by whatever means, although it is most commonly associated with infested wood packaging."

FERA plant health and seeds inspectors and Forestry Commission inspectors check commodities from outside the EU that are regulated under the directive, including wooden packaging. This is covered by an international standard ISPM 15 that provides for it to be treated and marked as free from pests.

"Each year, 90,000 consignments from non-EU countries are imported, with 70,000 requiring inspection - a risk-targeting system means that not all need to be inspected," said FERA.

"The Forestry Commission performs 4,000 inspections of controlled timber consignments entering the UK each year and 4,000 of wood packaging associated with goods of all kinds."

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