Scientific opinion on the risks posed by Prunus pollen, as well as pollen from seven additional plant genera, for the introduction of viruses and virus-like organisms into the EU

Malus, pollen transmission, pollination, Prunus, Pyrus, viroid, virus
First published in the EFSA Journal
10 October 2013
19 September 2013
Scientific Opinion


The Panel on Plant Health assessed the risk of introduction of listed viruses and virus-like agents through the import of pollen for pollination of eight plant genera. Because of the absence of an identified pollen trade for Fragaria, Rubus, Ribes, Vitis and Cydonia, the risk of introduction of viruses listed in Directive 2000/29/EC was assessed to be negligible, with low uncertainty. For Prunus, Malus and Pyrus, trade was identified and the risk evaluated in detail. For 12 viruses and one viroid the probability of entry was rated unlikely to moderately likely and the probability of establishment very unlikely to unlikely. In the case of the two remaining agents, Apple latent spherical virus (ALSV) and Apple fruit crinkle viroid (AFCVd), the probability of entry was rated as very unlikely with a moderately likely to likely (ALSV) or very unlikely to unlikely (AFCVd) probability of establishment. Therefore, for all agents, significant limitations to their introduction were identified. Almost all ratings are, however, associated with high uncertainty because of the absence of information on many important aspects. As a consequence, the risk of introduction of listed viruses and viroids by pollen for pollination of the genera Prunus, Malus and Pyrus is considered negligible to low, with high uncertainty. The current legislation provides a substantial level of risk reduction but risks could be further reduced by addressing specifically pollen in Annexes III and IV. The two risk reduction options identified with high or very high effectiveness and feasibility to further reduce the risk of introduction are the extension to all non-EU countries of the existing prohibition on Prunus, Malus and Pyrus pollen imports and a request for the individual testing of all imported pollen shipments. The uncertainty on the effectiveness and feasibility of these measures was assessed as low and low to medium, respectively.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Richard Baker, Claude Bragard, Thierry Candresse, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Grégoire, Imre Holb, Michael John Jeger, Olia Evtimova Karadjova, Christer Magnusson, David Makowski, Charles Manceau, Maria Navajas, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Jan Schans, Gritta Schrader, Gregor Urek, Johan Coert van Lenteren, Irene Vloutoglou, Wopke van der Werf and Stephan Winter
Panel on Plant Health
plh [at]
EFSA Journal 2013;11(10):3375
Question Number
On request from
European Commission