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Protecting Europe’s plants: pest survey cards go digital

The first batch of EFSA’s plant pest A living organism (e.g. an insect, rodent, weed, fungus or virus) that is harmful to plants and/or their products (e.g. seeds, fruits) survey cards are now available in an easy-to-use interactive format. Ten of the existing 28 cards – which are designed to help EU Member States plan their annual survey of quarantine pests According to Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, a pest is a ‘quarantine pest’, with respect to a defined territory, if it fulfils all of the following conditions:(a) its identity is established;(b) it is not present in the territory or, if present, is not widely distributed within that territory;(c) it is capable of entering into, becoming established in and spreading within the territory, or, if present in the territory, but not widely distributed, is capable of entering into, becoming established in and spreading within those parts of that territory where it is absent;(d) its entry, establishment and spread would have an unacceptable economic, environmental or social impact on that territory, or, if present but not widely distributed, for those parts of the territory where it is absent; and(e) feasible and effective measures are available to prevent the entry into, establishment in or spread of that pest within, that territory and to mitigate the risks and impact thereof. – have been published as "story maps" on EFSA’s website. They are smartphone-compatible.

The cards contain material that is essential for carrying out surveys that conform to current international standards, such as up-to-date information on the pest’s distribution, its host range, its biology and risk factors, as well as available detection and identification methods.

They are part of a plant pest surveillance toolkit that consists of pest‐specific documents, such as the survey cards, and documents that are relevant for all pests, including general survey guidelines and information on appropriate software.

Sybren Vos, from EFSA’s plant health team, said: “Systematic, harmonised surveillance is a fundamental component of the EU’s efforts to combat emerging plant pests. These survey cards, along with the workshops we have been holding with our partners in individual Member States, are key to establishing robust, coordinated surveillance activities across Europe.”

The remaining 18 cards will be adapted to the new format later this year. The gallery will grow over the coming years as more survey cards are developed.

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