( Courtesy Public Library of Science )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting a tomato brown rugose fruit virus survey of tomato greenhouses and has restricted imports to crack down on the virus.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is conducting the survey, and enacting control measures to safeguard against the virus, according to a news release.

There were several “isolated detections” of the virus in U.S. commercial greenhouses over the winter; the USDA did not identify those locations.

The tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) can cause severe losses of tomatoes and peppers, according to the release.

“APHIS urges U.S. tomato, eggplant and pepper producers, the nursery transplant industry, and the seed industry to follow recommended sanitation practices to safeguard against the introduction of this virus into commercial greenhouses and report any signs of symptoms to their state plant regulatory official,” according to the APHIS release.

Import rules

Effective June 5, a federal order imposed rules on countries that export tomato and peppers, and propagative materials for those fruit, that include declarations they were inspected and found to be free of the virus. This includes countries that don’t require phytosanitary certificates, including Mexico and Canada.

For tomatoes and peppers originating from the Dominican Republic, France, Spain, Israel and the Netherlands, they must also be accompanied by the declaration.

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