Ring rot confirmed in potatoes imported to Wales

Lab tests have confirmed the presence of ring rot in ware potatoes imported from Poland and processed in Wales, but growers are being reassured that there is little risk of its spread.

The potatoes were targeted for testing during a routine inspection by Fera’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and were identified as being probably contaminated with ring rot following two screening tests. Further laboratory analysis has now confirmed the presence of the disease.

The potatoes had already been processed at the time of initial testing and an investigation by the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate has not revealed any significant risk of spread.

Last month saw new rules on imports into England in response to the high levels of ring rot outbreaks in Poland and Romania and increasing imports from this region, following the poor UK harvest in 2012.

Changes include that seed and ware potatoes imported from Poland must be accompanied at the time of import into England by a ring rot test certificate issued by the Polish Plant Health Authority.

Fera adds that in addition to the certificate, it will be necessary for it to be notified in writing of all seed and ware consignments being imported into England at least two days in advance of the intended date of import. Until now, this was only required for seed potatoes.

Importers are also required to notify Fera two days in advance of seed and ware potatoes imports from Romania, Spain and Portugal.

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