Imports of watermelon from Tonga have been suspended after live fruit fly larvae were detected at the New Zealand border. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the Pacific fruit fly larvae were detected in a consignment of watermelons during an inspection at the Ports of Auckland on Tuesday.
As of today, the ministry has temporarily suspended imports of watermelon from Tonga pending an investigation into non-compliance by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Fisheries in Tonga. Until the suspension was lifted, all watermelon 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. MPI director of animal and plant health, Peter Thomson, said the detection showed Biosecurity New Zealand’s processes are working well. There was no suggestion any fruit fly had got into New Zealand.