The Belgian Nurseryman and Growers Federation (AVBS) has reported that Xylella fastidiosa was found at a trading company in West Flanders on 26 September, the first time the bacterial pathogen has been identified in Belgium.

The Belgian FASFC (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) discovered three infected olive trees in a batch during a routine check on the company.  The trees had been ‘extracted’ from Spain. The trees have been destroyed and FASFC has described the discovery as a ‘find, not an outbreak’.  The Belgian company has reportedly now destroyed all its olive trees.

No vectors were identified around the infected trees. Further assessments have started, to confirm that all traces have indeed been destroyed.

According to the AVBS, the Spanish authorities have now examined the Spanish supplier of the infected olive trees. The AVBS advises companies that have imported olive trees from countries where Xylella has previously been found, and show signs of dehydration, to be reported to the FASFC for further investigation. The Belgian AVBS report can be found here.

Although the Belgian interception does not affect the UK market currently, members still need to remain vigilant with their own imports and purchases of potential host plants. A printable infographic detailing which species are most likely to be affected by Xylella in the UK can be found here.

Up to date information on what you can do as a business to prevent Xylella’s entry into the UK can be found on the HTA website here, including an Information Pack to use in your business. Please keep checking back on the HTA website for up to date information.

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