61st Meeting of the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations
The 61st meeting of the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations took place in Tashkent, on 2023-06-20/23. The meeting was attended by 18 participants from 14 EPPO countries and observers from the European Commission and USDA-APHIS. This EPPO Working Party directs and supervises the technical work of many EPPO Panels related to plant health. A summary of the different Panel meetings and Workshops which took place since the last meeting was presented to the Working Party (short summaries of these meetings are posted on the EPPO website). The Working Party also discussed new and revised EPPO Standards and the work programme for 2024 and made several recommendations that will be presented to the EPPO Council.
New and revised EPPO recommendations and Standards
The Working Party recommended that 8 new pests (including an invasive alien plant) should be added to EPPO Lists of pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests: Meloidogyne ethiopica, Spodoptera ornithogalli, Spodoptera praefica and Tetranychus mexicanus to be added to the EPPO A1 List of pests absent from the region; Ageratina adenophora, Crisicoccus pini, Meloidogyne graminicola and Meloidogyne luci to be added to the EPPO A2 List of pests present in the region. For each pest, phytosanitary measures are recommended in a Pest Risk Analysis which will be made available via the EPPO PRA platform .
7 new and revised Standards were considered ready to be presented for approval at Council:
- Phytosanitary Procedures (series PM3)
- Inspection of places of production – Citrus plants for planting (new)
- Production of healthy plants for planting (series PM 4)
- Certification scheme for seed potatoes (revision of PM 4/28)
- Safe use of biological control (series PM 6)
- First import of non-indigenous biological control agents for research under confined conditions (revision of PM 6/1)
- Host specificity testing of non-indigenous (classical) biological control agents used against invasive alien plants (new)
- Diagnostic protocols for regulated pests (series PM 7)
- Guidelines on the main tasks of Reference Laboratories for official plant pest diagnostics (republication of corrected PM 7/131 with reference to EURLs)
- National regulatory control systems (series PM 9)
- Clavibacter sepedonicus (revision of PM 9/2)
- Ralstonia solanacearum (revision of PM 9/3)
The Working Party also noted the adoption of the following Diagnostic Protocols (series PM 7) approved since its last meeting according to the specific fast-track procedure:
- PM 7/NEW Agrilus planipennis
- PM 7/24 Xylella fastidiosa (revision)
- PM 7/NEW Begomoviruses
- PM 7/031 Citrus tristeza virus (revision)
- PM 7/146 Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)
- PM 7/NEW Mechanical inoculation of test plants
- PM 7/NEW Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp.
- PM 7/44 Xanthomonas citri pv. citri and Xanthomonas citri pv. aurantifolii (revision)
- PM 7/04 Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (revision)
- PM 7/065 Xanthomonas fragariae (revision)
- PM 7/43 Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae (revision)
The Working Party recommended that the following Standards are withdrawn:
- PM 3/67(1) Guidelines for the management of invasive alien plants or potentially invasive alien plants which are intended for import or have been intentionally imported
- PM 7/61(1) ‘Candidatus phytoplasma aurantifoliae’
The EPPO Secretariat presented the progress made on the EPPO database on diagnostic expertise and on the EPPO-Q-bank database. The Working Party supported the suggestion that the Standard PM 7/130 Guidelines on the authorization of laboratories to perform diagnostic activities for regulated pests is revised based on the recent revision of the NAPPO Standard, to include more details on the authorisation process by the NPPOs. The Working Party approved the use of the fast-track procedure for 14 specific Diagnostic Protocols (4 new, 10 revisions) and decided that the new Diagnostic Protocol for High Throughput Sequencing in virology follow the normal approval process.
The Working Party agreed that an Expert Working Groups (EWG) for PRA should be organized for one invasive alien plant, Zizania latifolia and supported the suggestion to analyse with experts whether a revision of the PRA for ToBRFV should be performed. Depending on the outcome of this analysis, the PRA will be revised in 2023/2024. In addition, PRA EWGs should be organized, by order of priority, on Chloridea virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Ceratocystis ficicola. The PRA on Phyllachora maydis was stopped because of taxonomic issues, and the work on maize-related pathways put on hold due to other PRA priorities.
The Working Party agreed with the revised measures recommended to prevent the further introduction and spread of Megaplatypus mutatus in the EPPO region. The Working Party was informed about the latest changes made to different guidance documents related to phytosanitary measures and PRAs; and endorsed updated guidance on Recommendation of Pest Free Area in risk management options identified during a PRA. The Working Party was informed about the results of a questionnaire on the use of and need for PM 8 Standards and recommended to extend the response period for the questionnaire before answers are analysed at the next Panel on quarantine pests for forestry.
Biological Control Agents
The Working Party agreed with the Panel proposal to add Phasmarhabditis californica (Rhabditida: Rhabditoidea) to Standard PM 6/3 Biological control agents safely used in the EPPO region (‘Positive List’).
An update was given on the EPPO platform on communication material , on ongoing developments in EPPO GD (in particular on the addition of lists of vectors for regulated plant pests and links with other EPPO databases), on the webinar on pest reporting, as well as on the ‘datasheet’ project performed under a grant agreement between EPPO and the European Commission. This Project consists of developing/revising datasheets for 321 pests between 2020 and 2024. As of June 2023, 241 datasheets have been published in EPPO GD and a further 24 have been drafted by authors. During the meeting, it was also recommended to enrich EPPO GD with photos made available by member countries (a practical guide on how to submit pictures is available here ) and to explore the possibility to organise a workshop on pest reporting and pest status, after analysing the reasons for low level of registration in the workshop planned in 2023. The Working Party was informed of the additions made to the Alert List since the last meeting. The Alert List draws the attention of EPPO member countries to pests possibly presenting a risk to plants in the EPPO region in order to achieve early warning.
Plant Health Links in the EPPO Region
The following main issues were discussed: ePhyto, Sea Containers, Plant health links with the EU, collaboration with EFSA and the EPPO Jens-Georg Unger Plant Health Fellowship. A draft revised procedure for European nominations in IPPC bodies was presented which will be further discussed in the Panels concerned and submitted to the Executive Committee. The Working Party had an informal discussion on the last day of the meeting on how to stimulate activities on commodity Standards and involve more stakeholders.
The Working Party was updated on Euphresco’s activities and on the Project proposal ´Strengthening phytosanitary research programming and collaboration: from European to global phytosanitary research coordination´ (EUPHRESCO III) (2023-2026) aiming, among other objectives, at exploring the establishment of a global phytosanitary research coordination. An update was given about ongoing discussions with the European Commission on a follow-up of the EU Quality Pest project (RNQP Project) mainly to assess pests from the EU fruit marketing directives.
This was the last meeting of Ms Petter as EPPO’s Assistant Director. The Working Party thanked her for more than 20 years of dedicated work to plant health at EPPO.