The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) is communicating to all members that the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus has been positively identified in Ontario. This virus primarily impacts tomatoes, and to some extent peppers, in both greenhouse and field operations. The association is unaware of the specific location(s) at which it was confirmed and is working with crop protection partners to further understand the specific origin of these incidents.
“In discussions with local and international researchers, it is our understanding that this virus can be effectively managed through strict on-farm biosecurity measures that aim to isolate, destroy and limit the spread of the disease,” says Dr. Justine Taylor, science and government relations manager, OGVG. “It is critical that you continue to enforce strict biosecurity practices at your farms and packing sheds.”
The most up-to-date technical information, including biosecurity protocols, is available here. While the virus can be carried on seeds, it can also be mechanically transferred on farm equipment and tools such as shears, carts, containers, clothing, etc. Restrict access to the crop to necessary individuals and ensure strict sanitation and hygiene measures are followed by all visitors and workers. Use the utmost caution when accepting materials from outside the greenhouse operation, especially if they originated from another farm or have previously been in contact with produce.
In the upcoming days OGVG and OMAFRA will be running multiple workshops to inform growers of the most up-to-date and effective protocols. Attendance at one of these sessions will be mandatory. The schedule is as follows. Registration here.:
· Tue May 14th, 2:00-3:30pm, OGVG office, 32 Seneca Road, Leamington
· Wed May 15th, 9:30-11:00 am, Ridgetown College, Rural Development Centre, Room 110
· Tue May 21st, 1:00-2:30pm, Vineland, location TBD
· Thurs May 23rd, 2:00-3:30pm, OGVG office, 32 Seneca Road, Leamington & Webinar option
Lastly, it is important to note that this virus does not pose any human health or food safety risks. Assure your customers of this fact.
The five key facts to communicate to customers are as follows;
· The Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus(ToBRFV) is a disease that predominately impacts tomato plants and to some extent pepper plants, leaving the fruit damaged and unmarketable.
· It was first detected in Israel in 2014 and is devastating to crops and challenging to control/eradicate when not acted upon swiftly.
· It has been detected in several regions since, including Europe, Mexico and the US.
· It can be effectively managed through strict on-farm biosecurity measures
· It is not harmful to human health nor does it pose a food safety risk
Source: Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers communiqué to members May 9, 2019.