USA responds to ToBRFV

"Consumers should expect steady tomato supplies"

"Consumers should expect steady supplies as farmers and agricultural scientists in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. collaborate toward a solution." That's what the FresProduce Association of the Americas, the FPAA, says about the ToBRFV measures that were announced this week. 

This Friday the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will begin to inspect tomato and pepper seed, transplants and fruit to protect against ToBRFV. They require additional testings on seed lots, tomato and pepper transplants and additional testings from tomato and pepper fruit imports from Mexico, Israel, and the Netherlands. Also they require Canada to inspect all tomato and pepper fruit prior to export to the United States to ensure it is free of disease symptoms. Then there are increased inspections at U.S. entry ports.

Interim measure
The virus does not affect humans or animals, but it is an immediate concern to agriculture. "The border inspection of seeds, transplants, and fruit by CBP/APHIS is described as an “interim measure” until the agency reviews the science and determines how best to address this issue", the FPAA responds. 

As authorities and industry pursue an integrated protective solution to this threat, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas supports a science-based approach based on verifiable, transparent data and methodology.  “Thankfully authorities at USDA and the corresponding agencies in Mexico and Canada have been coordinating for several weeks on an integrated approach,” said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer. “USDA said it urgently wants to establish the science, and we agree. Along with the regulatory agencies, the industry looks forward to learning how we all can help stop this plant disease.” 

The FPAA is working with USDA to minimize any delays or negative business impacts from the inspections. "Tomato and pepper supplies should remain robust as producers throughout Mexico being to harvest their winter crops." 

Mexico has had measures in place to since last year when the virus was first detected. In September of 2018, SENASICA established regulatory measures for the importation of seeds, in vitro material, plants, seedlings and cuttings of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. 
SENASICA officials continue to conduct field inspections and testing for the virus. 

SENASICA also continues to train Plant Health Committees and producers across the country so they can apply preventive measures and detection and eradication efforts should the virus occur in their crops. 

Recently the quarantine status was instituted in Europe for ToBRFV, which includes an obligation to report suspected infection. Soon after 2 findings of ToBRFV were confirmed in The Netherlands. In addition, there are 15 serious suspicions, of which 6 in the Westland municipality and 9 outside. 

For more information:
Lance Jungmeyer
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
Ph: +1 (520) 287-2707

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