EPPO Council declaration: The EPPO Council reiterates that 'Intercontinental movement of soil with plants for planting is high risk for plant health'.
The issue of the phytosanitary risk posed by the movement of soil with plants for planting has been raised at many occasions in the EPPO framework and has always been considered as a factor of risk for plant health. Horizontal phytosanitary measures are included in phytosanitary regulations of EPPO member countries however, recent years' experience have demonstrated the limits of the current systems (EPPO, 2012). On 2015-11-03/04, an Expert Working Group (EWG) was convened to review the EFSA Scientific Opinion on the risks to plant health posed by EU import of soil or growing media in order to consider if it provides sufficient justification for horizontal measures, in particular for soil and growing media attached to plants to sustain their vitality.
The EWG agreed with the EFSA conclusions that the current EU measures are insufficient to prevent the risk of entry of pests. It considered that establishing phytosanitary measures based on a systems approach including in particular the use of approved growing media could be considered. However, the EWG also recognized that this could result in a drastic change compared to current requirements for soil and growing media in the EPPO region and could have a major impact on trade. It was noted that an ISPM on Movement of growing media in association with plants for planting in international trade was in a final stage of preparation and could provide useful agreed guidance at international level. The Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations recommended that an analysis of the ISPM should be made when approved, and options for any further work identified and reviewed in 2017. The Working Party also suggested that the EPPO Council should reiterate that intercontinental movement of soil with plants for planting is high risk for plant health. The Council agreed to make this statement.
EFSA (2015) Risks to plant health posed by EU import of soil or growing media. EFSA Journal 13(6), 4132 [133 pp].
EPPO (2012) EPPO Technical Document No. 1061, EPPO Study on the Risk of Imports of Plants for Planting. EPPO Paris.