If you are a potato packer, processor or grower you should be aware of the Potato Flea Beetle and other Epitrix species. This pest is now present in all potato production areas in Portugal; it's also been found in Spain and there is a real concern that it might extend its remit to other parts of Europe including the UK.
Epitrix can cause serious reduction in the value of crops, due to holes and tunnelling on the surface of the tuber, as well as loss of yield. If it became established in the UK it would be impossible to eradicate and very costly to control.
Following consultation with stakeholders representing all parts of the potato industry, both the Scottish Government and Fera are introducing a voluntary notification scheme for all ware potatoes originating from Spain and Portugal. The information provided will enable us to build up a picture of the trade in potatoes from these countries, and to carry out targeted inspections for the pest and identify whether problems are arising and, if so, where from. This data will also help to inform discussions within Europe on measures to control Epitrix.
Please provide the following information to your local SGRPID Area Office at least 2 days in advance of deliveries:
Expected delivery date
Grower's name & address (including country of origin). Or your supplier, if grower not known.
Grower official registration number (this should be on the packaging, or the vehicle if loose-loaded)
Have the potatoes been washed or brushed?
Place of entry into the UK
Where the potatoes will be available for inspection, and contact telephone number.
Information is not required on ware potatoes which have been packed in England or Wales and are moving direct to retail outlets or distribution centres in Scotland.
Please remember that a statutory notification requirement applies to all seed potatoes entering Scotland.
On arrival of any potatoes not produced in Scotland you should:
- inspect for mining on the tuber surface (evidence of pest being or has been present);
- ensure no excess soil is attached to the tubers (pupae/adults may be lurking there);
- contact your local Area Office if in any doubt.