• Open Access

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


  • EFSA Panel on Plant Health (PLH)

  • Panel members: 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.
  • Correspondence: plh@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Xylella fastidiosa: Rodrigo Almeida, Domenico Bosco, Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Jean-Claude Grégoire and Stephen Parnell for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion; the hearing experts Maria Saponari and Donato Boscia, the EFSA staff Gabor Hollo, Ewelina Czwienczek, Olaf Mosbach Schulz and Giuseppe Stancanelli and the JRC staff Daniele De Rigo and Giovanni Strona for the support provided to this scientific opinion.
  • Adoption date: 30 December 2014
  • Published date: 6 January 2015
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2013-00891
  • On request from: European Commission


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.