European agriculture experts will meet in Brussels on Monday to develop an action plan to save the continent’s olive trees – and other plants – from a killer disease.
The insect-spread Xylella fastidiosa, also known as leaf scorch, has wiped out thousands of hectares of plantations in southern Italy.
A report by scientists in January, published by the European Food Safety Authority, suggested the pathogen’s spread and contamination in other European Union countries was very likely.
Monday’s meeting was called after the bacterium was found in four ornamental coffee bushes at Rungis, the international food market on the outskirts of Paris, a fortnight ago.
The plants had been imported from Honduras via the Netherlands, the French ministry of agriculture said.
French farmers fear it is only a matter of time before the disease begins to wipe out olive trees on the Mediterranean island of Corsica and in southern France.