Multiple seed lots from China, Israel and Jordan have been tested positive for the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV). The Dutch food and commodities authority (NVWA) stated before that a lot of tomato seed from Peru tested positive for the virus. Now it's about both tomato seed and bell and hot pepper seeds.
In total 19 discoveries have been made with Dutch tomato growers. Contaminations with plant breeders have not been found. Inspections and tracing research are continued. "For the tasks in the field of plant health, the NVWA primarily handles reports and incidents", says an NVWA spokesman. "Of course, the guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are followed."
At Schiphol Airport, the NVWA and the customs intercepted seed lots without phytosanitary certificate at the import from Jordan, and tested all these lots. They all tested positive for ToBRFV and were destroyed immediately. The European Plant health decree 2016/2031 states that plant products like seeds have to have a phytosanitary certificate upon entering the EU. "The discovered seed lots did not", says the spokesman. "So we don't know the seeds' background."
2 new discoveries
In response to reports from tomato growers and the tests that followed, 2 new tomato growers are suspects. The number of discoveries and suspections of ToBRFV at tomato growers is now 19 findings and 3 that are heavily suspected.
The NVWA tests after a minimum of 3 months after the planting of the next crop, if the contaminated growing companies can get disclosure. At breeders, ToBRFV has not been found yet.
Sources of ToBRFV in the Netherlands
The analysis of records of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), in which the full RNA of the virus is mapped, suggests at least 3 different sources of contamination with Dutch tomato growers.
Since November 1, 2019, the ToBRFV is marked a control required organism (quarantine organism). That's why there is a reporting obligation for everyone who has a suspicion of the presence of this virus. Not reporting is an offence, and the NVWA will enforce.