European Union publishes new rules on Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus

European Union publishes new rules on Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus

31 May 2023

The European Commission published Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1032 on 26 May 2023, establishing measures to prevent the introduction into and the spread of ToBRFV within the EU.

A significant change is the inclusion of additional conditions for issuing plant passports and intra-EU movement of relevant plants for planting, namely:

(a) The testing of relevant plants or plant lots displaying ToBRFV-like symptoms be tested and only commercialised if they test negative; and

(b) The separation of tomato and Capsicum plants from planting lots from each other by applying hygiene measures.

In the case of intra-EU movement of seeds, the new Implementing Regulation overhauls the previous rules to indicate that seeds of tomato and Capsicum can only be moved within the EU if they are issued a plant certificate, which needs to certify that:

(i) The seeds’ mother plants have been produced in a pest-free production site, as determined by official inspections.

(ii) in case of suspicion of the presence of the specified pest, that sampling and testing by NCAs were conducted in line with Article 87(3)(c) of the Plant Health Law.

(iii) for seed lots originating from over 30 mother plants, and prior to processing, the lot was found pest-free after sampling and testing by NCAs or by operators under official supervision.

(iv) for seed lots originating from under 30 or 30 mother plants, the lot was found pest-free after sampling and testing of all seeds or all mother plants either by NCAs or private operators under official supervision.

(v) all seed lots’ origin is recorded and documented.

In the case of imports of seeds from third countries, the new measure introduces some flexibilities by distinguishing between lots originating from over 30 mother plants and the rest, introducing the same sampling and testing requirements as those for intra-EU movements.

The measure does away with the use of the ELISA testing methods and requires the re-testing with a different testing method of all seeds moved for the first time since 1 April 2021 and tested before 30 September 2020 with the ELISA methods.

The Implementing Regulation requires a 20% sampling and testing rate at BCPs upon first arrival or other control points for all third countries except Israel and China. For Israel, the rate is 50%, whereas, for China, the sampling and testing rate is 100%.

The Implementing Regulation applies from 1 September 2023 until 31 December 2024. To cover any legal gaps in coverage, it extended the validity of the previous rules until 31 August 2023.

(Source: FreshFel)