New Zealand: Tomato crop destroyed after plant disease detected

Biosecurity officials are monitoring for any further signs of a plant disease found in a commercial crop at the top of the South Island, which can damage tomatoes and potatoes. The Ministry of Primary Industries said the virus, potato spindle tuber viroid (PTSVd), was detected on tomato plants in glasshouses near Nelson before Christmas. The crop was destroyed.

Biosecurity New Zealand director of readiness and response John Walsh confirmed testing in mid-November identified a mild form of PTSVd on the plants at a commercial operation in the Tasman district. Plants from three glasshouses were removed and buried, he said.

It infects a wide range of other plants, including capsicums, dahlias, and chrysanthemums, but is not a concern for human or animal health. The virus has been found in New Zealand on two previous occasions and eradicated, Walsh said.

“The virus has not been detected anywhere else, but alongside our sector partners, we will continue to closely monitor for any signs of it.”


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