Pepino Mosaic Virus
Following detection of Pepino Mosaic Virus in Auckland, TomatoesNZ have been working closely with Biosecurity NZ to try and determine the source and how widespread the virus is. Biosecurity New Zealand has given the growers permission to continue selling tomatoes from the greenhouses, operating under strict hygiene measures. The virus does not affect human health and tomatoes are safe to eat.
The virus can be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms so it is important that growers remain vigilant with hygiene, especially with equipment, plant material and people that are moving on and off site. Early symptoms are leaf yellowing and crinkling. Stress and especially low light are thought to bring on symptoms in infected crops. Some infected crops have no symptoms.
Fruit can carry the virus, however this is considered a low risk pathway for transmission. High risk is infected plant material and mechanical transmission such as on tools, equipment and clothes.
We recommend that growers have hygiene measures in place for staff and restrict the entry of visitors on to your site to reduce your risk. Fact sheets with information and pictures are attached, including grower information in Korean and Chinese. More information about the response and what to look out for is available here.
Pepino Mosaic Virus is a notifiable organism, meaning you have a legal obligation to report any suspected infection to MPI so your plants can be tested. There are penalties for not reporting. If you have symptoms that you suspect could be PepMV, it is against the law not to report it to MPI on 0800 80 99 66.