HC Deb 12 March 1998 vol 308 c302W
Mr. Swinney

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment has been made of the benefits of further restricting imports of Dutch ware potatoes through(a) clinical testing and (b) a ban; what assessment he has made of the (i) risks associated with the spread of and (ii) difficulties in eradicating brown rot; and if he will make a statement.[33988]

Mr. Rooker

Measures against potato brown rot are kept under review, in the light of findings in the UK and other Member States and the results of research. Since the Netherlands announced a number of outbreaks in 1995, the Department has increased the number of inspections and laboratory tests on Dutch ware potatoes, but has not confirmed any findings of brown rot. In these circumstances, a ban would not be justified. There is evidence that, although in certain conditions brown rot could cause significant damage to UK crops, localised outbreaks can be eradicated. The Department is discussing with interested parties plans for eradicating the bacterium from infected watercourses, where it could present a risk of further spread.