Since mankind has been farming and trading in agricultural products, harmful organisms have been carried from their original habitat to new areas. For thousands of years, such distribution was limited to short distances within a continent. However, the risk of introducing harmful organisms into Europe and subsequently into Austria has increased in recent decades due to increasing global trade and rapid transport as well as the effects of climate change.
The first introductions into Europe with enormous social and economic consequences were Phytophthora infestans (potato late blight), which led to numerous crop failures and catastrophic famine in Ireland in 1845, and a few years later Daktulosphaira vitifoliae (phylloxera), which caused a significant collapse in grape and wine production for almost the whole of Europe. Once introduced into Europe, control over further dissemination was no longer possible. These lessons of the past were followed by an attempt to prevent their introduction through international cooperation.
In 1951, 15 European states joined together to form the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), which today already has 51 members from Europe and the Mediterranean region. Also in the same year, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) adopted the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), a treaty under international law for the protection of plants against harmful organisms.
Today, legal regulations at international and national level form the framework for plant health (phytosanitary) conditions for preventing the introduction and spread of harmful organisms for the protection of domestic agriculture and forestry.
The supreme authority of the Official Plant Protection Service is the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT). The Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES) and the Federal Office for Forests (BFW) are the authorities of first instance for imports (e.g. phytosanitary import control, import wood control, packaging wood control).
At the regional level(Länder), the Governor is responsible for the implementation of all other tasks of the Plant Protection Act 2011 as amended in the first instance. This concerns inter alia the introduction (phytosanitary internal market control) and export (phytosanitary export control) of plants, plant products and other objects, the registration/authorisation of establishments and individuals to trade in plants and plant products and official measures to protect plants and plant products against the introduction of harmful organisms.
This area of responsibility is implemented by the 9 Regional Official Plant Protection Services of the Länder. Further information can be found at: www.pflanzenschutzdienst.at
The Agency for Health and Food Safety and the Federal Research Centre for Forests provide support in the form of scientific advice, research and laboratory tests.
The tasks of the Official Phytosanitary Service are administrative and coordinating activities within the framework of phytosanitary inspections:
The Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES) is the authority of first instance for the implementation of the 4th section of the Plant Protection Act 2011 as amended.phytosanitary import control of plants, plant products and other objects from third countries in the agricultural sector, including the granting of derogations on import.
The phytosanitary export control and the phytosanitary domestic market control of plants, plant products and other objects is carried out by the Regional Official Plant Protection Services of the Länder. Further information can be found at: www.pflanzenschutzdienst.at
In the Official Gazette of the BAES, for example, the plant protection fee tariff, rules for inspections at the place of destination and conditions on sampling and on the official phytosanitary examination on the holding - agricultural part (compendium-LW) are defined and published.
The BAES reports the occurrence of legally regulatedharmful organismsto the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management.
According to the Planting Material Act 1997 as amended by § 13, the BAES is the competent authority for the recognition of planting material of fruit species.
In addition, Austria-wide coordination and the provision of expertise in connection with the tasks of the Plant Protection Act (e.g. multi-year integrated control plan, harmful organisms) takes place, educational program) and cooperation with plant health authorities.