|Brussels, 13th January 2016
Recommendation of the Working Group on the Annexes of the Council Directive 2000/29/EC – Section II – Listing of Harmful Organisms as regards the future listing of Strawberry mild yellow edge virus 1
Current regulatory status
Strawberry mild yellow edge virus (SMYEV) is an EU regulated harmful organism, listed in Annex IIAII of Council Directive 2000/29/EC on plants of Fragaria L., intended for planting, other than seeds.
Annex IVAI (19.2) and Annex IVAII (12) require that at the place of production, no symptoms of the pest have been observed on plants since the beginning of the last complete cycle of vegetation. Annex IVAII offers a second option for movement in the EU as regards plants for planting originating in an area free from the pest.
Annex IIIA prohibits the import of plants for planting of Fragaria from Non-European countries with few specified exceptions.
Annex VA requires a plant passport for Fragaria in case the material is destined to professional operators involved in plant production and Annex VB requires a plant health certificate for import into the EU.
Fragaria is also covered by Marketing Directives for fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants.
Identity of the pest
SMYEV belongs to the Potexvirus genus and is transmitted by the strawberry aphid Chaetosiphon fragaefolii. Robust and sensitive detection methods are available.
Distribution of the pest
SMYEV has a restricted host range since Fragaria species are its only known natural hosts. It is currently present in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania and the United Kingdom. Given that it does not necessarily induce remarkable symptoms in many recent strawberry varieties, SMYEV is likely to be present in a number of other Member States but not officially reported. Data on the presence or absence of the organism is not available in Croatia, Latvia and Spain. The virus is reported as absent in Iceland and Norway.
Its vector is widely present in the Union territory: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania Spain and the United Kingdom.
Potential for establishment and spread in the PRA area
Strawberry plants are widely grown in a wide range of EU Member States. In addition, the wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), which is also susceptible to the virus, has also a large distribution in the EU. The vector, the strawberry aphid C. fragaefolii, is reported to be widely distributed in the risk assessment area.
SMYEV and its main vector, C. fragaefolii, are generally well adapted to the diverse eco-climatic conditions found in EU. The potential for spread is, therefore, very high but the pathogen is widespread in the area. However, considering the near absence of interception reported so far and the certification systems in place, the probability of the association of SMYEV with the pathway at origin is to be considered very limited.
Potential for consequences in the PRA area
SMYEV does not cause significant damage or losses in most of the currently used strawberry varieties and consequences are considered marginal by the industry. However, it can have serious consequences when present in mixed infection with other viruses.
In general, the cultural practices currently in place in the EU, including the certification schemes for the production of virus-tested planting material and the short cropping systems, reduce the establishment of the pest and the building up of inoculum.
The Working Group believes that SMYEV does not meet the definition of a Union Quarantine Pest, as it is not present in a “limited part” of the EU, or that its presence is only “scarce, irregular, isolated and infrequent”. Furthermore, natural spread over long distances does not occur.
SMYEV meets the definition of Regulated Non-Quarantine Pest as it is already present in the EU territory, it spreads via specific plants for planting (Fragaria), and it can cause an “unacceptable economic impact on the intended use of those plants” if no certification schemes are in place.
In conclusion, the Working Group suggests removing the quarantine status for SMYEV and listing it as Regulated Non-Quarantine Pest (Union Quality Pest). However, a Protected Zone status may be considered by the Member States which are still free from the pest.
Further consideration is needed as regards specific requirements (movement) under the EU certification scheme for fruit plants under implementing directive 2014/98/EU.
Further scientific support by EFSA is not needed at this stage.