Strawberry growers consulted over regulatory change

Defra has called on strawberry growers to give their views on the EU's proposed removal of monitoring and control of plants infected with Xanthomonas fragariae, which causes angular leaf spot in plants.

The disease is not generally lethal to plants but it can reduce fruit marketability. It was detected in one UK site in 2004 but successfully eradicated. It remains in 10 other EU countries including the Netherlands.

Current EU regulations require that plants are visually inspected for the disease. But a pest-risk analysis by the Netherlands Food & Consumer Products Safety Authority said these requirements "are not sufficient to ensure pest freedom mainly because of the possibility of latent infections", while a more stringent testing regime would simply increase the burden on the industry.

A subsequent meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Plant Health in May concluded that complete deregulation "seemed to be the most appropriate option", according to Defra. It has asked growers to submit their views to plantpestsrisks@fera.gsi.gov.uk by 29 July.


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