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ToBRFV find on Egyptian import tomatoes in the Netherlands

The Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) has been found in the Netherlands on imported tomatoes from Egypt. This is evident from the latest update of the international plant health organization EPPO. The same update also reports about an Italian find on imported tomato seed from Israel. Also mentioned is an initial contamination in bell peppers in Italy by the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP).

Reports about ToBRFV finds on import seeds have already been reported recently, but the find on import tomatoes is new. According to the NVWA, the find was made in November 2019 and is part of a series of finds, the Dutch food safety watchdog told Vegetables & Fruit.

The number of ToBRFV finds among growers in the Netherlands has not changed. That number remains provisionally at 19 finds and 3 serious suspicions. As far as is known, the contaminated imported seed that has recently been found in the Netherlands, comes from at least three different sources and was destroyed after it was found at Dutch customs.

Contaminated seed was also found in Italy, also on tomatoes, EPPO reports. The source here was Israel. Moreover, according to a BSPP publication, ToBRFV was detected in a bell pepper crop for the first time. In January of this year, 85% of a red pepper crop showed virus symptoms. The same greenhouse had been cleared a year earlier after a ToBRFV infection in tomato.

PCR tests were performed on thirty plants for cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), tomato spotted wilt tospo virus (TSWV) and ToBRFV. The test was negative on CMV and TSWV, but the PCR test gave rise to further testing for ToBRFV. Ultimately, a 99.6 percent similarity was found with a previously isolated virus find in Sicily.

As far as the sources quoted by BSPP are known, measures are currently being taken to contain and control the emergence in Italy.

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