Effective Sept. 8, 2019, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending the entry requirements for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and pepper (Capsicum spp.) seeds imported from all countries into the United States. This Federal Order (FO) will have major impacts on U.S. seed businesses.
Under the FO, APHIS is requiring all shipments of tomato and pepper seed from all countries be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate or a re-export phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration (AD). The AD must verify that the seeds have been tested for pospiviroids of quarantine significance prior to entry into the United States or that the seeds are produced in a country in which these pospiviroids are not known to occur. As a result of this import requirement, tomato and pepper seeds are no longer eligible for importation using a small lots of seed permit. The requirement for a phytosanitary certificate with the above additional declaration applies to all tomato and pepper seed entering the United States, including small lots of seed.
The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) has a joint working group with APHIS and continues to hold discussions with the goal of finding a mutually agreeable solution.