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Rapid response to ToBRFV virus in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the early detection of an imported virus – the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) – in a small seed lot has allowed steps to be taken to contain and prevent any spread of the virus. All the seeds and resulting plants have been destroyed.

In early December, industry alerted Biosecurity New Zealand to the presence of ToBRFV in seeds imported from Israel. Although these imports had a phytosanitary certificate declaring them to be free of ToBRFV based on testing completed offshore, further testing identified a very low level of infection.

ToBRFV is a serious pathogen for tomato and capsicum plants and is an Unwanted Organism in New Zealand. As a precautionary measure, Biosecurity New Zealand has temporarily suspended the imports of capsicum and tomato seeds for sowing from Israel.

Biosecurity New Zealand has been able to account for all of the imported seeds and the plants grown from them. There have been no symptoms or positive tests for ToBRFV from the plants grown from the seeds, which have been restricted to three greenhouse sites in Auckland.

As a further precaution, Biosecurity New Zealand has destroyed all the tomato plants grown from uncontaminated seeds that have been in close proximity to the affected plants.


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