Tomato growers in the Netherlands are being reminded by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) not to intentionally infect plants with the quarantine disease tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV).
It said it was taking additional phytosanitary measures at several sites where inspections had found the disease pressure was particularly high, which put neighbouring nurseries at greater risk.
It suspects the greater disease levels were partly being caused by plants being deliberately infected with what is claimed to be a mild variant of ToBRFV in the hope that it will protect the crop and limit the damage inflicted by the virus in circulation, but which makes eradication on the nursery more difficult.
‘During inspections at several infected nurseries, the NVWA found the ToBRFV variant from the illegal cross-protection agent,’ it said. ‘The NVWA suspects which companies have deliberately infected their plants and will take enforcement action.’
It completed a criminal investigation into the suspected producer of the cross-protection agent and several companies that deliberately infected their plants and has now started a new enforcement investigation.
In February it said there were outbreaks on 50 nurseries, 19 of which are in Westland. Since its previous update, in June last year, the disease had been detected at 13 more sites and declared eradicated at four sites.
The virus has been detected at 66 production nurseries in total and one breeding company since mid 2019 when it was first reported in the country. It has been declared eradicated at only 17 sites so far, five of which suffered new outbreaks. It was eradicated for a second time on one of those five while the remainder have switched to another crop.
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