France bans imports of Puglia vegetables as olive bacteria starts mini trade war

Italian farm associations are denouncing France's decision to ban imports of vegetables from Italy's southern Puglia region because of a bacterial outbreak that has infected hundreds of thousands of olive trees.

They say the decision amounts to a trade war and have demanded Italy protest officially.

Already, European Commission officials say Italy should consider cutting down an estimated 1 million olive trees infected with xylella fastidiosa and create a buffer zone to save the estimated 90 percent of trees that aren't infected.

Puglian farmers have refused, saying the destruction of the trees won't halt the bacteria's spread. They say the EU should instead be investing in research to wipe out the bacteria.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll announced the ban on Puglian vegetable imports Friday.