Canadian growers deal with ToBRFV

CAN (QC): “Some people call it tomato COVID-19, but we call it the business killer virus”

It’s an open secret in Canadian greenhouses. After traveling around the world, the tomato brown rugose fruit virus is now present in Quebec greenhouses. This virus, commonly known as “tomato rugosis,” safe for human consumption, can cause catastrophic losses. But we see the end of the tunnel: scientists have developed plants that resist the disease.

To enter the Serres Royales, you have to put on a sterile suit, gloves, and shoe covers, then dip your feet in a tray filled with disinfectant liquid.

“Some people call it tomato COVID-19, others call it tomato cancer, but we call it the business killer virus,” says the president and CEO of Les Serres. Royales, Stephan Lemieux.

On a cart near the entrance, bins are stacked. They are filled with green and yellow marbled tomatoes. As if they were waiting to mature. But these tomatoes will never turn fully red.

Uneven ripening is one of the symptoms of the ToBRFV virus (from the English name “Tomato brown rugose fruit virus”), diagnosed in one of the company’s three greenhouses on February 14.


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