Emergency measures have been announced to help prevent a serious virus affecting the tomato crop from entering the UK.
The measures, announced by the European Union, will come into force on 1 November.
It will mean that EU member states, including the UK, will have to conduct annual surveys for Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV)
The virus results in unmarketable fruit and can affect up to 100 percent of stock, which could have a substantial economic impact for UK growers.
The new measures will ensure that any seed moving into and within the EU will require appropriate documentation supported by official sampling and testing.
Plants imported for planting will need to originate in an area free from the virus and be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
Even if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October, the emergency measures will still be incorporated into national legislation.
Nathalie Key, Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB, said: “The industry will welcome the emergency measures to help prevent the virus entering the UK.
“While we have had only one outbreak in the UK, which we believe to have been fully eradicated, the industry must remain vigilant.
“Strict hygiene protocols are a must to reduce the risk of infection in glasshouses.”
The virus was reported for the first time in the UK on a tomato crop this summer and can cause fruit to become discoloured or misshapen.
The emergency measures will apply to tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and pepper (Capsicum annuum) – the virus has been identified in a pepper crop in Mexico.
Source: Farming UK