Phytosanitary inspection of woody plants for planting at European Union entry points: a practical enquiry
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- Eschen, R., Rigaux, L., Sukovata, L. et al. Biol Invasions (2015) 17: 2403. doi:10.1007/s10530-015-0883-6
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Phytosanitary import inspections are important to avoid entry of harmful pests on live plants. In the European Union (EU), all consignments of live plants must be inspected at the first point of entry, and plants allowed entry can be moved without further inspection among the 28 Member States and Switzerland. It is important that inspections in EU countries adhere to the same standard to avoid introduction of harmful organisms through countries with weaker methods. We tested whether sampling intensity and confidence in the inspection results were the same across these countries. Questionnaires were sent to inspectors in all countries, asking about inspections of individual consignments of woody plants for planting. Data about 102 lots, inspected at 13 points of entry in six countries, were analyzed. We used hypergeometric and binomial statistics for small and large consignments, respectively, to calculate the probability that <1 % of the plants were infested. The duration of the inspection increased with lot size, but the probability that the infestation level was below 1 % of the plants was lower for small than for large lots. Moreover, large international differences in inspection intensity and the probability that the inspections could detect a level of infestation below 1 % were found: the probability was consistently above 0.95 in one country, while the average probability was below 0.6 in the other countries. We suggest that the EU Member States adopt common maximum acceptable infestation levels and harmonized, statistics-based sampling protocols for plants for planting.