Urgent - Restriction on US Imports of Tomatoes and Peppers

USDA announces restrictions on tomato and pepper imports:

On November 15th, 2019, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it will restrict importation of both Fresh Tomatoes and Tomato Plants and Fresh Peppers and Pepper Plants, the two main hosts of the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV).  APHIS has found it necessary to restrict these importations to prevent the introduction of ToBRFV into the United States.

When do these restrictions become effective?

The new federal order becomes effective on November 22, 2019.

How will this affect my shipments?

Fresh Tomatoes and Peppers:

If you are exporting fresh tomatoes or fresh peppers to the United States APHIS will require that the  tomato and pepper fruit from Canada be inspected at the point of origin to ensure it is free from disease and symptoms and will require the goods to be accompanied by one of the following documents:

  • A phytosanitary certificate issued by the National Plant Protection Organization of the country of origin containing the following additional declaration: “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp fruit have been inspected and found to be free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus”

OR

  • Accompanied by an inspection certification document issued by the grower or packer with the following language,  in lieu of a phytosanitary certificate:  “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp fruit have been inspected and found to be free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus”.  The inspection certificate must include the date of the inspection, the name, title, office, and address of the person issuing the inspection certificate, as well as the names and addresses of the grower and packing house.

Tomato or Pepper Plants, seeds, graphs and cuttings:

If you are exporting Tomato or Pepper Plants to the United States APHIS will require shipments from all countries be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate or a re-export phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration certifying the following:

  • The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Casicum spp. Plants for planting or seeds originated from a country certified free from tomato brown rugose fruit virus, as established by the national plant protection organization of that country.

OR

  • A representative sample of the Solanum Lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp plants for planting or seed lot has been officially tested and found free of Tomato brown rugose virus.

What will happen if we do not have the required certification at the time of entry?

Any shipments of fresh tomato and pepper fruit arriving without the required documentation with the additional language will be refused entry into the United States. 


ToBRFV Signs

Affected fruit show signs of bubbling and mosaic on leaves of pepper, and fern leaf and mosaic on tomato leaves.  On fruit signs include smaller fruit size and a rough surface, fruit drop, delay in ripening, and fruit discoloration including blotching, pale color and/or brown necrotic spots.  Infected tomato fruits can be unmarketable or reduced in quality.  Necrosis (or death in the form of dark areas) can occur on susceptible pepper fruit.

How is ToBRV Spread?

Transmission occurs through the touching and manipulating of infected plants.  Transmission is common during transplant productions or in crop production systems in which plants are regularly handled, such as greenhouse operations.


What Countries have are known to have ToBRV?

ToBRV has been reported present in China,  Mexico, Italy, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, The United Kingdom and the Netherlands.  

More information on the Federal Order outlined in this document can be accessed here

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About Author
Misty Gibbins
LCB, CCS

Misty has been working in the brokerage business for 35 years. She was the manager of the Blaine Office of Peace Bridge Customs Brokers for nine years, before coming to Pacific Customs Brokers, Inc. Misty has worked in the trade compliance group at PCB for the past 12 years. She is currently the Senior Trade Regulatory Analyst, which involves keeping up with trade related regulatory changes.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.