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Dutch link to suspected potato ring rot
11:56am Wednesday 6th February 2013 in Rural Focus
A SECOND outbreak of potato bacterial disease ring rot in the UK is being investigated, Fera has announced.
The suspected outbreak in the east of England follows notification by the Dutch Plant Protection Service of the delivery of six lots of two varieties of seed potatoes from a farm affected by a ring rot outbreak in the Netherlands.
Fera said the seed potatoes have been used to grow seed potatoes and ware potatoes in England.
The Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) has been tracing and testing remaining harvested stocks and provisional results suggest ring rot is present in one of the varieties. Final confirmation will take several weeks, however, and tests on the other variety involved are continuing.
Tracing and holding of harvested stocks will continue, says Fera.
Tracing of stocks of other varieties grown on the farm, which grew seed potatoes from the Dutch stock, is under way, as is tracing of ware potatoes grown from the Dutch stocks.
A spokesman for Fera said: “At this stage, no more than a small number of farms is thought to be involved and there is no evidence any of the confirmed infected stock has moved outside England.”
Details of the UK farms involved or varieties affected have not yet been disclosed. Farms found to be affected by the outbreak will be contacted by PHSI.
Commenting on the latest outbreak, NFU Potato Forum chairman Tim Papworth, said: “The high level of imports into the UK over the past few months have increased the risk of introducing and spreading harmful organisms.
“But the industry has worked very closely together to minimise those risks and Fera’s teams have been quick to investigate and isolate potential outbreaks. Additionally, new legislation was pushed through to strengthen plant health protection which will reduce risks in the future.”
In early January Fera reported an outbreak of ring rot in Wales in ware potatoes imported from Poland.