|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 crinkle virus1
Current regulatory status
Strawberry crinkle virus (SCV) is a regulated harmful organism in the EU, listed in Annex IIAII of Council Directive 2000/29/EC on plants of Fragaria, 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
SCV, the causal agent of strawberry crinkle disease, is well characterized. Robust and sensitive molecular assays are available for detection.
Distribution of the pest
SCV is reported from the production areas in all continents. In 12 EU Member States, SCV is absent, however, only one absence is confirmed by survey, while the other 11 Member States report different types of presence. Distribution in 5 member states is unknown. SCV is transmitted by Chaetosiphon aphids. The most prominent vector, C. fragaefolii, is present in many EU Member States (14 MSs according to Fauna europea).
Potential for establishment and spread in the PRA area
Fragaria spp.(wild and cultivated) are the only known natural hosts of SCV. Where host plants are grown, the eco-climatic conditions are favorable for SCV and its vector (mainly C. fragaefolii).
The most effective long distance spread of SCV is by plants for planting propagated from infested plants. Most varieties do not show symptoms although they are infected. Some cultivars are tolerant to SCV but resistance is not known. SCV can be eliminated from infected plants e.g. by meristem tip culture to produce healthy material for further propagation.
The vector can contribute to local spread of SCV but vector transmission is less efficient than for other strawberry viruses; lower temperatures have a long latent period in the vector as consequence and thus reduce the infection probability. Because the virus persists in the vector, viruliferous aphids in consignments can also contribute to long distance spread.
Potential for consequences in the PRA area
SCV is seen as one of the four most important viruses in commercial strawberry production. The virus can reduce the yield considerably. Mixed infections of SCV with other strawberry viruses cause the severe strawberry decline disease which affects vigour and yield and can result in plant death. There are no known environmental consequences caused by SCV.
The ongoing voluntary cultural practices in place in the EU, including the certification schemes for the production of virus-tested planting material and short cropping systems, reduce the establishment of the pest and the building up of inoculum and plant economic losses.
There have been no interceptions of this pest and there is not much import of strawberry plants from non-EU countries. According to EFSA, certification schemes are also in place in some Third Countries. However, it refers also to recent outbreaks of strawberry decline disease in North America which makes clear, that the pest may be occasionally overlooked in certification schemes.
The Working Group believes that SCV 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. On the contrary, SCV 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”.
In conclusion, the Working Group suggests removing the quarantine status for SCV 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 requirements) 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.