Netherlands: Investigations into more ToBRFV-contaminations

It seems like the ToBRFV contamination in the Netherlands has spread. Since October 4th, growers were obliged to report a (possible) contamination, and since last Monday the Dutch food and safety organisation NVWA imposes fines when growers fail to do so. Although not officially confirmed, this week there are talks about five contaminations in the Netherlands. Later on today or early tomorrow a letter will be sent to the government. In that letter the NVWA and emergency organisation TuinbouwAlert will give more clarity about the numbers. 

Omroep West spoke to Sjaak van der Tak of industry organization Glastuinbouw Nederland. "When it comes to companies outside the Westland as well, it becomes a national problem."

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) can confirm they are investigating whether more greenhouses are infected. "We receive more and more reports from companies that encounter suspicious situations," Michel van der Maas, spokesman of the NVWA, told Omroep West. "But they have to be properly investigated first."

This morning Michel added that researching ToBRFV is not that simple. "Usually the virus consists of several viruses in the greenhouse and first the virus must be isolated. The right research method is currently taking shape, but it will take a little more time." That time exceeds the duration of a laboratory test, which takes about one to two days.

Until the letter being sent to the the House of Representatives is published, it remains unclear whether the news again only concerns tomato growers from the Westland area and whether infections have also been found among pepper growers. It is possible that this will be clarified in the forthcoming letter to the House of Representatives. 

Earlier this month the first official finding of ToBRFV in the Netherlands was confirmed. There had been rumours about this before, but since the virus did not have a Q status growers weren't obliged to report contamination. Following the confirmation a second greenhouse in the Westland area was suspected to be infected as well. 

Hygiene measures
A find at a tomato grower does not require the entire greenhouse to be cleared. However, strict hygiene measures are imposed on the company to prevent further spread. The company must submit a plan of action for this to the NVWA for approval. The NVWA monitors compliance. The fruits that are not affected can simply be disposed.

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