Biosecurity New Zealand has suspended fresh melon imports from Tonga after unwanted fruit insects were detected at the border.
The Pacific fruit fly larvae were detected in a consignment of watermelons during an inspection at the Ports of Auckland on Tuesday.
“On 13 October 2020, live fruit fly larvae were detected at the New Zealand border on a consignment of watermelons from Tonga,” a spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries told Kaniva News.
“We have imposed an immediate suspension,” he said.
“The length of the suspension will depend on how quickly Tongan authorities can investigate the situation and put measures in place to assure New Zealand.”
“It will remain in place until Biosecurity NZ has undertaken an audit and is satisfied that any findings from the audit have been actioned.”
Until the suspension was lifted, all watermelons from Tonga arriving at New Zealand’s border would be held with the option of destruction or re-shipment.
A separate consignment of 29 tonnes of watermelon from Tonga was already being held at the border and would not be inspected or cleared.