The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced updated restrictions on importing tomato and pepper seeds in order to protect American agriculture from a potential outbreak. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has been testing imported seed for several different pathogens since November 2018, particularly pospiviroidae. Shipments of seed from numerous different countries have tested positive for multiple types of pospiviroids, some of which are known to cause disease in potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and other agricultural crops.
All tomato and pepper seeds will now need to be tested in their country of origin before they are allowed entry into the U.S. As a result of the new import requirement, seeds are no longer eligible for importation using a small lots of seed permit. Industry groups have raised concern that the restriction will negatively impact the availability of seed; ultimately increasing prices for consumers.
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