In recent weeks The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has inspected 40 rose growers who bought plants from two rose propagators where infection with the Ralstonia solanacearum bacterium, the cause of brown rot, was established. This is to map the spread of the bacterium and to ensure that the farmers take sufficient measures to prevent further spread of the bacterium within their organizations and within (greenhouse) horticulture.
Water samples were taken, crops inspected and plant samples taken if the plant showed symptoms of infection. The laboratory tests take several weeks.
The Ralstonia solanacearum bacterium is spread through soil, water, tools and people. Distribution within the crop can take place very quickly through, for example, the pruning shears with which plants are cut and flowers harvested. The bacterium can also easily spread through water and will evolve very quickly in high greenhouse temperatures. Ralstonia is particularly known as a pathogen in potatoes but can also affect other crops, such as tomatoes and many ornamental plants. Infected plants must therefore be destroyed, in accordance with Phyto Directive 2000/29/EC
. The bacterium poses no danger to public health.
So far The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) established infection with the Ralstonia bacterium at 2 propagators and 4 growers. A couple of additional propagators have been included in the survey, because these companies exchanged material with the infected propagators. Plant material was also delivered to other countries. The NVWA has informed the authorities of these countries. The NVWA is also investigating the source of the infection.
If the NVWA laboratory tests show that plants or the water system of a propagator or grower is infected, then that company has to destroy the infected plants and clean and disinfect all materials and surfaces that may have been in contact with the bacterium. This is done under the supervision of the NVWA.
For more information about the bacterium (in Dutch), click here