France bans Italian olive oil to wipe out the bacteria

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Puglian farmers have refused, saying the uprooting of trees — some of them hundreds of years old — won’t halt the bacteria’s spread since trees can be infected without showing symptoms. They say the EU should instead be investing in research to wipe out the bacteria.

“If we cut down 1 million trees this year, we’ll find another million infected a year later,” said Giovanni Melcarne, a Puglian olive producer and activist with the Voice of Olive commission opposing the cull. “We’ll never be able to resolve it.”

Experts from the 28 EU nations meet again April 21 to discuss a unified EU position. A decision on action needs a “qualified majority,” which Italy couldn’t veto.

In a statement announcing the boycott, Le Foll cited the risk of contamination on French vegetables if the bacteria were to be introduced on French territory.

“There is no way to directly combat the bacteria,” he warned. “Once contaminated, only the complete uprooting of the vegetables can eradicate the infection.”

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