Effective November 22, 2019, the import of fresh tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), peppers (Capsicum spp.), and related propagative material will be restricted to prevent the spread of tomato brown rugose fruit virus into the United States. This virus is easily spread through the use of contaminated tools, hands, and plant-to-plant contact.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a federal order last week, which will increase US Customs and Border Protection’s inspections on these goods. The restrictions affect fruit, plants, seed lots, and transplants from all countries, including consignments from Mexico, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands.
Shipments of these goods must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate or Re-Export Phytosanitary Certificate with an additional declaration certifying that the lots fulfill either of the following requirements prior to import.
- The tomato and pepper plants for planting or seeds originated from a country certified free of the virus, as established by the national plant protection organization of that country.
- A representative sample of the plants has been officially tested and found to be free of the virus.
Consignments of fresh tomatoes and peppers from Canada, Mexico, Israel, and the Netherlands must be accompanied by one of the following documents:
- A phytosanitary certificate issued by a national plant protection organization from the country of origin containing the following additional declaration “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp. fruit have been inspected and been found to be free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus.”
- In lieu of the phytosanitary certificate, an inspection certification document provided by the grower or packer must state, “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp. fruit have been inspected and been found free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus.” This document must include the inspection date, name, title, office, and address of the person issuing the inspection certificate, as well as the names and addresses of the grower and packinghouse.