The European Union has announced emergency measures to prevent the introduction and spread of tomato brown rugose fruit virus. The measures will come into force on 1 November 2019. Even if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019, the emergency measures will still be incorporated into the UK's national legislation.
The measures will mean that EU member states (including the UK) will have to conduct annual surveys for the virus. Any seed moving into and within the EU will require appropriate documentation supported by official sampling and testing.
Plants imported for planting will need to originate in an area free from the virus and be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
More detailed guidance on the testing requirements is likely to be provided by Defra Plant Health in the future.
Nathalie Key, Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB, said: “The industry will welcome the emergency measures to help prevent the virus entering the UK.
“While we have had only one outbreak in the UK, which we believe to have been fully eradicated, the industry must remain vigilant. Strict hygiene protocols are a must to reduce the risk of infection in glasshouses.”