World News

France confirms first case of tomato virus on Brittany farm

PARIS (Reuters) - A virulent tomato virus has been detected in France for the first time, leading the authorities to quarantine the affected farm in the northwestern region of Brittany, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

The tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), which is harmless to humans but can decimate crops, was confirmed in greenhouse-grown tomato plants on the farm, the ministry said.

Measures were under way to destroy the contaminated plants, Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume told news channel BFM TV.

The tomato crops infected by the virus had been grown from plantlets imported from Britain and had in turn been produced from seeds grown in the Netherlands, the ministry said in a website update.

The authorities were testing other farms that had been supplied with plantlets from the same batch, it added.

French food safety agency ANSES had warned this month that France was at risk from the virus, which had already spread to six countries in Europe, including Britain, Italy and Germany.

There is currently no treatment or variety resistant to the virus, which emerged in the Middle East in 2014 before spreading to Europe in 2018.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Gus Trompiz; Editing by David Goodman