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Ministry Confident Of Import Standards

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is confident that effective standards are in place to protect New Zealand from the incursion of pests such as Queensland fruit fly.

Richard Ivess, MAF’s Director Plants Biosecurity, responding to the recent find of Queensland fruit fly in the Cook Islands, says New Zealand operates rigorous Import Health Standards.

“Post harvest disinfestation treatment in place for potential fruit fly hosts from the Cook Islands includes high temperature forced air of 47.2 degrees C for 20 minutes.”

“Efficacy data generated from numerous heat mortality trials undertaken throughout the Pacific Islands indicates that the above specification demonstrates 100% mortality of all life stages of Queensland fruit fly,” he said.

For countries such as Australia, the requisite post harvest disinfestation treatment for Queensland fruit fly host material (e.g. tomatoes and capsicums) is a chemical dip/flood spray.

Trade in Chillies from the Cook Islands has since been suspended and the ban will remain in place until the Cook Islands can demonstrate the complete eradication of Queensland fruit fly. No post harvest treatment is in place for chillies as they have been determined to be non-hosts to the endemic fruit fly species in the Cook Islands.

Imports of mangoes, eggplants, and papaya will continue however, as these fruits undergo post harvest treatment for fruit flies as part of New Zealand’s Import Health Standards.

Mr Ivess praises the prompt notification and emergency response enacted by Cook Islands agriculture officials.

“Our trading relationships are dependent upon a responsible adherence to negotiated agreements and standards,” he said.

There has been no detection of any species of fruit fly in New Zealand since the discovery of a Mediterranean fruit fly back in 1996.


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