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Importing potatoes and managing Epitrix

10 March 2017

Defra is reminding potato importers of the importance of complying with UK requirements for potatoes imported from Spain and the new contingency plan on Epitrix (Potato Flea Beetle). 

In response to interceptions showing evidence of the presence of Epitrix on potatoes from Spain, national measures remain in force.  These measures require that potatoes from Spain must be washed before being imported 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.

A new contingency plan on Epitrix has been published on the Plant Health Portal . This describes the actions expected to be taken in the event of an Epitrix interception or outbreak. 

Further information about Epitrix is also available on the Plant Health Portal at:

https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/factsheets/epitrix-pest-alert.pdf

https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/factsheets/epitrix-potato-flea-beetle-factsheet.pdf

Defra has also asked if possible importers could specify whether consignments have been washed when making their notifications. 

Requirements for importing seed and ware potatoes entering the UK from other sources:

Common name Origin Requirement
Seed potatoes Poland Pre-import notification and accompanied with official ring rot test certificate
Other EU Pre-import notification and accompanied by a plant passport/official certificate
All non-EU countries Prohibited, except from Switzerland where equivalent measures to those for EU countries are in place
Ware potatoes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey, Akkare and Bekaa regions of Lebanon Phytosanitary certficate
Poland Pre-import notification, accompanied with official ring rot test certificate and registration number
Portugal, Romania and any part of Spain which is within the EU Pre-import notification and accompanied by a registration number
Other EU countries and Switzerland Accompanied by registration number
Other non-EU countries Prohibited

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