The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued an alert regarding the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus. The disease has been recently found in Mexican tomatoes at several grocery stores throughout the state. Multiple large-scale greenhouses in Mexico were confirmed to have shipped infected tomatoes to Florida. The virus can affect both tomatoes and peppers, causing severe yield reduction for growers and defects that make the fruit unmarketable to consumers. A Florida Tomato Exchange news release says this disease making its way into the U.S. tomato and pepper crop would be a crisis for American growers and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Growers around the world are already on high alert as the fruit virus, which originated in the Middle East, spread to Europe and Mexico. What makes the disease even more of a concern for growers is that it can be transmitted by touch. That makes it easy to spread the disease from infected imports in the marketplace to producer fields or greenhouses. The Florida Tomato Growers are asking the USDA to follow the lead of the European Commission, which voted to implement a quarantine status in all EU countries to help prevent the spread of the disease.
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