HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 cc831-2W
Mr. Roger Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the itinerary was for the transport from the country of origin to the final country of destination of the potatoes which brought potato ring-rot into the UK. [174154]

Mr. Bradshaw

As Defra's Final Report into the 2003 Ring Rot Outbreak in the UK makes clear, it has not been possible to trace the origin of infection which resulted in the ring rot outbreak in Wales. However, Appendix VI of the Report (see http://defra.gov.uk/planth/ring/repfinal/app6.pdf) outlines the itinerary for the Provento seed potatoes which were supplied to the Welsh farm, from which the crop was grown which resulted in the outbreak. This Appendix was prepared by the Dutch Plant Protection Service who gave permission for it to be published as part of Defra's Report.

In essence, the Dutch report indicates that the seed potatoes were exported from the Netherlands to Honduras on 26 September 2002. The consignment was refused entry to Honduras because it did not meet their requirements on the absence of soil (not because of a concern with the potatoes) and was returned to the Netherlands on 5 December 2002. Following re-sorting and re-bagging, to remove potatoes which had sprouted, the seed potatoes were split into different lots which were then sent directly to various destinations (Wales, Portugal, Iraq, Honduras and Ukraine) between the period 5 December 2002 and 1 May 2003.