Evira has found pine wood nematodes in wooden packaging material originating from United States


<p>Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira has this year found live pine wood nematodes in the wooden packaging material of three batches of goods originating from the United States. This dangerous pathogen of pine forests is in Europe endemic only to Portugal. It is not prevalent in Finnish forests.</p>

The first finding of the pine wood nematode in 2010 was made at the end of March and the second at the beginning of April. In both cases the pests were found in wooden packaging material used for a delivery of shafts of mining equipment imported to Finland. At the end of June, pine wood nematodes were found already for the third time; now in the wooden packaging of ride-on lawn mowers. In previous years pine wood nematodes have been found in the wooden packaging material of e.g. bolts and ironmongery, and stone slabs. Affected wooden materials have been immediately destroyed by burning. Wooden packaging material originating from a country where pine wood nematodes occur causes the greatest risk of this pathogen, which has been classified as dangerous, spreading to unaffected areas, including Finland.

Wooden packaging material is required to be marked according to the ISPM 15 standard. The requirement is based on the international convention of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. The convention defines certain treatments that wooden packaging material is required to undergo to destroy pine wood nematodes and to prevent the spreading of the pest through wooden packaging material. The ISPM 15 mark indicates the compliance of the manufacturer of the packaging material with the treatment requirements.

All the recent findings of pine wood nematodes made by Evira have been in wooden packaging carrying the ISPM 15 mark. This goes to show that the application of the mark does not always guarantee that the treatments have been successful.

The pine wood nematode is a small, ca. 1 mm long pest, which causes extensive damage to forests in e.g. Asia and Portugal. It lives in the wood matter of conifers where it reproduces and hinders the movement of water through water-conducting tissues, eventually causing the plant to wilt and die. The pine wood nematode spreads with the help of certain forest insects, mainly the sawyer beetle, which is common also in Finland. The most important host plant of the pine wood nematode is pine, which is the most common conifer also in Finland, but the pest can use also spruce and larch as a host plant.

Pine wood nematode is native to Canada, United Stated, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, China and the Republic of Korea. The pest has spread to Portugal, probably in wooden packaging material. It is nowadays found in all of Portugal and causes massive forest deaths.

Pine wood nematodes are found in Finland every year in a couple of inspections of wooden packaging materials carried out by the plant protection authorities. As the greatest risk to the protection of Finnish forests against the spreading of the pine wood nematode is associated with wooden packaging materials, Evira will further intensify control in this respect.

In order to ensure that the inspections are correctly targeted in terms of time and place, Evira asks operators who import goods to Finland to inform the plant inspectors of Evira or of the pertinent Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment about deliveries that contain wooden packaging material. This request also applies to wooden packaging that bears the ISPM 15 mark. The inspection and sampling are carried out free of charge and will not impede the further carriage of the actual imported goods.

More on the topic:
Pine wood nematode (in Finnish):
Evira.fi > Kasvintuotanto ja rehut > Kasvintarkastus > Karanteenituhoojat > Mäntyankeroinen
Frequently asked questions (in Finnish):
Evira.fi > Kasvintuotanto ja rehut > Kasvintarkastus > Tuonti > Usein kysyttyä > Mäntyankeroinen pakkausmateriaalissa

For more information, please contact:
Jyrki Tomminen, Senior Researcher, Evira, tel. +358 (0) 40 725 7236
Raija Valtonen, Head of Section, Evira, tel. +358 (0) 40 560 2510


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