Biosecurity Minister David Carter says smart action by biosecurity inspectors prevented fruit fly eggs hidden in fresh produce entering New Zealand’s border.

A container of produce from Queensland was impounded on arrival when the live eggs were detected. Imports of fresh produce from Queensland have been suspended while MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and Australian authorities carry out investigations.

This follows another successful interception of unidentified fly eggs in a consignment of oranges from California on Tuesday. The fruit was impounded and fumigated immediately.

“This was the result of very good work by our biosecurity inspectors. In the case of the fruit from California, a small black spot on one of 600 oranges was detected. It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Carter said.

“These finds highlight the risk New Zealand faces of imported pests and diseases, but most importantly it demonstrates that our rigorous border system is working.

“I would like to congratulate MAFBNZ for their work. New Zealand relies on its primary products and our primary products depend on our biosecurity system.

“A fruit fly incursion in our key fruit-growing regions would have a devastating effect on our horticulture industry and it could put access to some of our most important markets at risk,” Carter said.

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