Fruit fly species stopped at border

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

Biosecurity New Zealand officers have stopped an unwanted fruit fly species from entering the country.

Officers detected spotted wing drosophila larvae in a single fruit from a consignment of oranges from the United States (USA) on 8 April during a routine inspection. 

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

“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.”

Mr 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.

“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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