Late last week MPI temporarily suspended importation of rockmelon and honeydew melon from Australia because of the detection of live insects on several recent consignments.
Although none of the insects found were fruit flies, it does indicate there could possibly be an issue with the post-harvest treatment (dimethoate) that is used in the management of risk from fruit flies.
KVH fully supports the precautionary measure MPI has taken – protecting New Zealand from fruit flies is of the highest importance. There is a chance that consumer supply of the melon is affected over the next couple of weeks but we believe this to be a small inconvenience compared to a fruit fly incursion that could disrupt trade and result in large economic losses for exporters.
We were also pleased to see that on Tuesday MPI announced their x-ray screening had found a passenger’s bag full of undeclared fruit and vegetables at Christchurch airport.
The traveller was flying from Sydney over Easter weekend and admitted she was trying to smuggle the food into New Zealand. MPI and Immigration New Zealand worked together and the passenger was denied entry into the country – a strong stance, fully supported by KVH and one that shows our border systems are working and that Government is serious about biosecurity. Any one of the smuggled items could have been carrying unwanted pest threats that could have a devastating impact and KVH believes the right action was taken.