The Israel Farmers Federation addressed the ministry of agriculture to alert that the ministry permitted the importation of tomatoes infected with a number of viruses which are a potential risk for consumers. Many farmers in Israel are enraged about the government’s handling of the importation of tomatoes from Jordan; they claim the government acted irresponsibly by not inspecting the imports carefully enough. The result is that a potentially harmful virus was allowed to enter Israel, and now threatens to destroy local crops if it were to infect them.

The virus found is known as TOMV or TMV, and is already a well known issue to tomato growers in Israel who have experienced past infections that caused widespread damages. Additionally, this virus has the potential to be harmful for consumers and makes the imported tomatoes unfit for consumption. Portions of the imported tomatoes have reached Israeli supermarkets already, prompting the farmers and advocacy groups to call for their immediate removal in their plea to the government.

The chief executive of the Israel Farmers Federation, Meir Zur, said “this is an outrage, to import diseases to the country without inspection is a complete lack of responsibility. The accumulated damage could be highly destructive for farmers and consumers. The importation must be stopped immediately.”

The financial officer of the organization, Abu Vilan, added that “someone [at the agriculture ministry] has been caught snoozing and in an attempt to do good for consumers made a major error. We must act to stop this at once.”