Scientific Opinion on the risks to plant health posed by Xylella fastidiosa in the EU territory, with the identification and evaluation of risk reduction options

Xylella fastidiosa, Philaenus spumarius, olive, risk assessment, risk reduction
First published in the EFSA Journal
6. Januar 2015
30. Dezember 2014
Scientific Opinion


The EFSA Panel on Plant Health conducted a pest risk assessment and an evaluation of risk reduction options for Xylella fastidiosa. X. fastidiosa has been detected in olive in the EU with a distribution restricted to the region of Apulia in Italy and is under official control. X. fastidiosa has a very broad host range, including many common cultivated and wild plants. All xylem fluid-feeding insects in Europe are considered to be potential vectors. Philaenus spumarius (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae), a polyphagous spittlebug widespread in the whole risk assessment area, has been identified as a vector in Apulia. The probability of entry of X. fastidiosa from countries where X. fastidiosa is reported is very high with plants for planting and moderate with infectious insect vectors carried with plant commodities or travelling as stowaways. Establishment and spread in the EU is very likely. The consequences are considered to be major because yield losses and other damage would be high and require costly control measures. The systematic use of insecticides for vector control may create environmental impacts. With regard to risk reduction options, strategies for the prevention of introduction and for the containment of outbreaks should focus on the two main pathways (plants for planting and infectious insect vectors) and combine the most effective options in an integrated approach. For plants for planting, these could be pest-free production areas, surveillance, certification, screened greenhouse production, vector control and testing for infection and, for some plant species, treatments (e.g. thermotherapy). To prevent entry of the infectious vectors, insecticide treatments and inspection of consignments and production sites are required. The Panel has also reviewed the effectiveness of risk reduction options for X. fastidiosa and its vectors listed in Directive 2000/29/EC and in the EU emergency measures. The Panel recommends the continuation and intensification of research on the host range, epidemiology and control of the Apulian outbreak.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Richard Baker, Claude Bragard, David Caffier, 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, Irene Vloutoglou, Stephan Winter and Wopke van der Werf.
Panel on Plant Health
plh [at]
EFSA Journal 2015;13(1):3989
Question Number
On request from
European Commission