Blow for tomato industry as ‘highly infectious’ virus arrives in NL

Dutch fruit and veg farmers rely on cheap labour from abroad. Photo:
Dutch fruit and veg are important export products. Photo:

The Netherlands’ tomato growing industry has been dealt a blow with the discovery of a highly infectious disease at a producer in the Westland region.

The Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus is not harmful to humans, but tomatoes and peppers from infected plants cannot be sold. Inspectors from the food standards agency NVWA said the source of the infection was not known.

Agriculture minister Carola Schouten confirmed the presence of the virus in a letter to parliament, adding that disease control measures had been implemented for growers with immediate effect.

‘Strict hygiene measures have been imposed at the company [concerned] to prevent infection to nearby premises,’ she said. ‘The virus is very infections.’

Cultivators of tomato plants who discover the virus in their crop will have to destroy their entire stock in order to contain the infection, the minister said.

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