26 Nov 2019
Restrictions Placed on Tomato Imports
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a federal order imposing the following import restrictions as of 22 November to protect the United States from the tomato brown rugose fruit virus:
- all tomato and pepper seed lots and transplants imported from all countries where the virus exists must be officially tested and certified free of the disease;
- all tomatoes and peppers imported from Mexico, Israel and the Netherlands must be inspected at the point of origin to ensure they are free of disease; and
- Canada must inspect all tomatoes and peppers prior to export to the United States to ensure they are free of disease symptoms.
In addition, both APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase inspections of tomato and pepper seed, plant and fruit imports entering from countries where the virus is known to occur, as well as Canada, and will take action to keep any infected products out of the country.
The tomato brown rugose fruit virus is easily spread through the use of contaminated tools, hands and plant-to-plant contact and can cause severe fruit loss in tomatoes and peppers. It was first reported in tomatoes in Israel in 2014. Since then, it has been reported in mainland China, Mexico, Germany (eradicated), Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Turkey and the Netherlands. The virus was detected and eradicated from a California tomato greenhouse in 2018.