PLANT HEALTH inspectors have announced a clamp down on potato imports from Poland to keep ring rot out of the UK.

All imports of potatoes from Poland must be notified to the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate at least two days in advance of arrival.

The new measures to prevent another outbreak of ring rot were announced by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Friday (May 28).

It follows accession of Poland and other Eastern European countries into the EU on May 1.

PHSI Inspectors said they will monitor Polish potato imports on arrival in the UK and take samples as necessary to ensure they are free from ring rot.

Polish authorities have introduced voluntary measures so that all consignments of potatoes being traded with other member states are tested for ring rot.

Relevant authorities at the export destination are also notified before consignments are sent.

DEFRA said it had introduced the extra measures to supplement the Polish measures and “facilitate effective monitoring and enforcement”.

On arrival in the UK, Polish imports will face close scrutiny “during the initial period following accession”, said officials.

The results of this testing will help to determine whether additional measures need to be considered, or whether Polish potatoes represent no greater risk than potatoes from other EU sources.

The announcement is yet another victory for our Keep British Crops Healthy campaign – “More focused checks on plant imports” is what we called for, and finally DEFRA has responded.

The campaign page has more information on the plight of growers battling notifiable pests or diseases.

There are also links to find out more about existing outbreaks and those that could be just round the corner.