New Zealand discovers beetles in kiwi shipment from Italy
A shipment of kiwi from Italy was found to contain four species of beetles by New Zealand biosecurity officials, local newspaper The Bay of Plenty Times reported.
The 1,310 boxes of fruit were fumigated and will be inspected further. The fruit is not believed to be able to transmit the kiwi vine disease PSA, according to a biosecurity official quoted by the website.
New Zealand has continued to allow kiwi imports in part to protect its own export business, according to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers President Peter Ombler, the website said. Other nations have accepted New Zealand fruit since the discovery of PSA there in November, and so New Zealand could not deny entry of others’ crops, he said, according to the website.
Alan McMeiken, director of Produce Partners, said the beetle discovery was not unusual.
"Fruit coming into and going out of New Zealand is quite regularly fumigated,” he is quoted as saying. “It's the nature of the fresh produce business that insects are found.”
Government and industry officials have isolated two strains of PSA, one of which is the “Italian isolate” that is more virulent than the Asian strain, Kiwifruit Vine Health general manager John Burke told FreshFruitPortal.com in an interview last month. The Italian strain severely damaged fruit in Italy in the 2007-08 season.
The beetles posed a threat to New Zealand’s cereal and vegetable crops, the news website said.