Pest categorisation of Clavibacter sepedonicus
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Clavibacter sepedonicus, a well‐defined and distinguishable bacterial plant pathogen of the family Microbacteriaceae. C. sepedonicus causes bacterial ring rot of potato and is reported from North America, Asia and Europe. The bacterium is mostly tuber transmitted, but it can also enter host plants through wounds or via contaminated equipment. C. sepedonicus is regulated in Council Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IAII, as Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus) as a harmful organism whose introduction into the EU is banned. In addition, Council Directive 1993/85/EEC concerns the measures to be taken within EU Member States (MS) against C. sepedonicus to (a) detect it and determine its distribution, (b) prevent its occurrence and spread, and (c) control it with the aim of eradication. The pest is present in several EU MS, but in all cases with a restricted distribution and under official control. C. sepedonicus could enter the EU and spread primarily via host plants for planting (i.e. potato tubers). The pest could establish in the EU, as the main host (potato) is commonly grown and climatic conditions are favourable. Direct potato losses following infection by C. sepedonicus can be substantial and are due to the destruction of the vascular tissue, wilting of the plant and rotting of the tubers. Infected hosts can remain asymptomatic. The main knowledge gaps are the geographic distribution of the pest and the host range. The criteria assessed by the Panel for consideration of C. sepedonicus as a potential quarantine pest are met, while, for regulated non‐quarantine pests, the criterion on the widespread presence in the EU is not met.