Change of emergency measures ToBRFV discussed in EU

The European Commission (CIE) is considering whether to adjust (possibly tighten) or extend the current emergency measure for Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV). The virus keeps on spreading. The question discussed in the European Union at the moment is whether, after May 29, there will be a more stringent or less stringent emergency measures for ToBRFV.

Several countries believe that the current Q status for seeds and young plants due to the current emergency measure for ToBRFV (for Capsicum and tomatoes) is no longer tenable. The Netherlands, for example, has been making the case in Brussels (Scopaff) for ending the emergency measure for ToBRFV for some time. Abandoning regulation or a RNQP (regulated non-quarantine pest) status for ToBRFV could be alternative options.

However, there is no majority vote for this in the Brussels consultation (Scopaff, in which all EU member states participate), and several EU member states even favor further tightening of ToBRFV requirements for seeds and young plants. On this basis, the CIE is working to adjust the regulations for ToBRFV after the current emergency measure expires on May 29 next. By the end of March, expectations are that more clarity will be there about what will happen after May 29.

In the Netherlands, the number of infections with ToBRFV, a virus that can cause great damage to plants but is harmless to humans, has increased. Fifty companies are under the supervision of the Dutch plant protection authorities. The same agency, NVWA, is also tightening controls on illegal cross-protection, where plants are deliberately infected with the virus. The NVWA says there are indications that the variant from cross-protection has now spread naturally to other farms.

Internationally, the virus is also still turning up in new countries, including recently in Slovakia.

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