NZ suspends U.S. citrus imports after pest detection

April 11 , 2019

New Zealand authorities have suspended imports of U.S. citrus following the detection of a fruit fly species on an orange consignment.

Biosecurity New Zealand officers detected spotted wing drosophila larvae in a single fruit from a consignment of oranges from the U.S. on April 8 during a routine inspection. 

The fly is a serious pest that could harm a range of fruit crops in New Zealand, the organization said.

“The interception shows our biosecurity controls are working well,” says Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand. “There is no suggestion the fly is in New Zealand.”

Smith says the ministry’s technical experts are assessing the find and any measures that might need to be taken as the fly is not normally associated with citrus.

“As a precautionary measure, we have put a temporary hold on citrus consignments from the USA. This will allow us to investigate further,” he said.

“We are working with authorities in the United States to identify the source of the contamination and possible treatment options for consignments on their way to New Zealand.”

He says the move is unlikely to have an impact on the supply of citrus to New Zealand consumers.

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