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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Importing Tomato and Pepper Fruit

Questions

Only commercial shipments of tomato and pepper fruit may be imported into the United States.

Commercial consignments of tomato and/or pepper fruit entering from Canada, the Dominican Republic, France, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain are subject to all applicable current requirements for the country of origin, and must be:

  • Accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by a National Plant Protection Organization of the country of origin containing the following additional declaration: “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp. fruit have been inspected and been found to be free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus.”

APHIS will also allow exporters of commercial consignments of pepper fruit from the Dominican Republic, and tomato and/or pepper fruit from Canada or Mexico to use an “inspection certification document” in lieu of a phytosanitary certificate, with the following language:

  • “The Solanum lycopersicum and/or Capsicum spp. fruit have been inspected and been found free of symptoms of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus.”

The inspection certificate must also include the date of the inspection, the name, title, office, and address of the person issuing the inspection certificate, as well as the names and addresses of the grower and packinghouse.

Any consignment of fresh tomato and pepper fruit arriving at a port of entry without one of these documents, as required above, will be refused entry and subject to re-export or destruction. Tomato and pepper fruits that are found in personal baggage will be confiscated and destroyed.

Only one document per consignment is required to attest that the fruit was inspected and found free of symptoms of ToBRFV. Only Canada, the Dominican Republic and Mexico may use either a phytosanitary certificate OR an industry inspection certificate document. All other countries where ToBRFV is reported and that are exporting commercial tomato and pepper consignments to the United States must issue a phytosanitary certificate for each shipment.

Commercial consignments of peppers from Mexico must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate OR an industry inspection certification document indicating that the fruit was inspected and found free of symptoms of ToBRFV. Additionally, Manzano peppers must be irradiated. The Import requirements for peppers from Mexico are available in FAVIR.

No. Fresh cut fruit of tomato or pepper from any country is subject to the same import requirements as whole fruit.

Any industry representative at the grower or packinghouse can complete the inspection certificate. The certificate needs to include all of the information listed here.

The inspection has to occur between harvest and entry into the United States. If the fruit originated from a third country, then inspection certification document from the originating country is also required.

No. Required documentation will be retained by Customs and Border Protection.

The fruit can be inspected in the field, greenhouse or packinghouse. The inspection certification document must include who inspected the fruit and their affiliation.

No, each load must have its own industry inspection certification document or phytosanitary certificate.

Each entry into the United States must be accompanied by its own industry inspection certification document or phytosanitary certificate.

No, if the fruit is traveling under a transit permit, the fruit does not make entry into the United States and will not be inspected.

U.S. tomato and pepper fruit returning from Canada or Mexico that remains in its original packaging does not need inspection documentation. U.S. tomato and pepper fruit that has been repackaged or otherwise handled in Canada or Mexico must have an inspection certification document or phytosanitary certificate from the country where it was repackaged or otherwise handled.

The packer in Canada can issue an industry inspection certification document signed by a Canadian industry representative. The document should list the packer in Canada as well as the Mexican growers.

If boxes packed in Mexico are co-mingled with boxes packed in Canada, two certificates are required.  One certificate would be issued and signed by a Mexican industry representative for the fruit grown AND packed in Mexico. A second certificate would be issued and signed by a Canadian industry representative for the fruit grown AND packed in Canada.

The shipment will be held while confirmation is obtained from an APHIS identifier. The shipper will have the option to re-export in lieu of an identification, destroy, or remain on hold pending confirmation.

We are using immunostrips at the ports of entry to test symptomatic tomato and pepper fruit for the genus Tobamovirus, which is actionable in the United States. Fruit that tests positive will be denied entry into the United States.

CBP will dispose of fruit via deep burial, steam sterilization, incineration, or grinding into an approved sewage system.

Commodities not subject to the Import Federal Order may be separated and allowed entry.

No. Fruit found to be positive for ToBRFV after inspection will not be enterable and must be returned to origin.

The product will not be allowed entry into the United States until APHIS identifies the pathogen and issues a regulatory decision on the shipment.  Importers may choose to wait for a regulatory decision or return to origin.

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