As the season for imports of potatoes from Spain is underway, importers are reminded of the national legislation introduced in February 2016 to protect against the risk of introduction of Epitrix, a damaging pest of potatoes, on potatoes being imported from Spain.
The national legislation remains in force requiring that such potatoes must be washed before import to the UK. The only exceptions are for potatoes clearly identified as originating from the Balearic Islands, where the risk of Epitrix presence is much lower than on the Spanish mainland, and potatoes from Epitrix demarcated areas which are accompanied by a plant passport and which may be brushed free of soil rather than washed.
The UK Plant Health Services will be continuing to monitor introductions of potatoes from Spain and will be carrying out targeted checks. Good compliance with the statutory notification scheme is encouraged, to help protect the industry as a whole.
Information on what to look out for and who to contact to report any findings or suspect symptoms is provided in the Epitrix pest alert and the pest factsheet. The recently published pest specific contingency plan on Epitrix describes the actions expected to be taken in the event of an Epitrix interception or outbreak (updated 09/03/2017).