Pest categorisation of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. albedinis
The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. albedinis, the causal agent of Fusarium wilt of date palm, for the EU. The identity of the pest is well established and reliable methods exist for its detection/identification. The pest is listed in Annex IIAI of Directive 2000/29/EC and is not known to occur in the EU. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. albedinis is present in Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. Its major host is Phoenix dactylifera, which is the only Phoenix species known to be affected by the pest. Uncertainty exists about the host status of Lawsonia inermis, Medicago sativa and Trifolium spp. cultivated as intercrops in the infested areas and reported as being symptomless carriers of the pest. The pest could potentially enter the EU on host plants and soil/growing media originating in infested Third countries. The current pest distribution and climate matching suggest that the pest could establish and spread in the EU wherever the host is present. In the infested areas, the pest causes vascular wilt resulting in yield/quality losses and plant death. It is expected that pest introduction and spread in the EU could impact date production. The pest is expected to have high environmental consequences in the Elche area (Spain), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as other EU areas where P. dactylifera is grown as an amenity tree. Current EU phytosanitary measures are not fully effective at mitigating the risk of introduction and spread of the pest in the EU. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. albedinis meets all the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as potential Union quarantine pest. As the pest is not known to occur in the EU, this criterion to consider it as Union regulated non-quarantine pest is not met.