NOGALES, Ariz – U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase inspections at the border for tomatoes and pepper-fruit starting on Friday.
A federal order issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week requires additional inspection of shipments from Mexico, Israel, Canada and the Netherlands.
Travelers can expect extra time at the border if they plan to bring over those two food items.
This is to ensure that the produce items aren’t carrying a fruit-virus known as the Tomato Brown Fruit Rugose Virus, or ToBRFV.
The virus has spread around internationally since first it was first detected in Israel in 2014.
ToBRFV does not affect humans or animals, however, it is an immediate concern to agriculture.
Lance Jungmeyer is president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and this organization supports a science-based approach based on verifiable, transparent data.
“USDA said it urgently wants to establish the science, and we agree. Along with the
regulatory agencies, the industry looks forward to learning how we all can help stop this plant
disease,” said Jungmeyer.
The FPAA is collaborating with the USDA to reduce any delays or negative impacts on business from the inspections.
Tomato and pepper supplies should remain steady as producers throughout Mexico begin to harvest their winter crops.