The price of olive oil is expected to rocket after the EU ordered the felling of millions of trees infected with a deadly microbe.
Brussels has recommended that about 11million olive trees in southern Italy, many centuries old, be chopped down.
They have been infected with Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium spread by an aphid. The disease, first identified in the Americas has already wiped out a million trees in Salento, southern Puglia.
It is feared that unless drastic action is taken to fell the groves, the bacterium will spread to other olive-producing regions of Italy such as Tuscany and Umbria, and even to other Mediterranean countries.
Xylella fastidiosa can also infect vines, almond trees and other crops.
Puglia, a region in the heel of Italy, produces about 11million tons of olives a year, more than a third of the national crop, and they are used to make some of the country’s best oils.
By Hannah Roberts In Rome For Daily Mail
Published: 18:21 EST, 18 March 2015 | Updated: 20:48 EST, 18 March 2015