Tasmania: Blueberry rust detected on imported blueberries

Imported blueberries that were bought from a Tasmanian supermarket have been found infected with blueberry rust. The fruit was sold in a supermarket in southern Tasmania, and the berries were reported to Biosecurity Tasmania late last week.

Biosecurity Tasmania acting general manager Rae Burrows said the blueberry rust spores were detected through diagnostic processes: "This is not considered an outbreak of the blueberry rust and presents a very low risk to the state. Blueberry rust is present in low levels in Tasmania but we have a local containment strategy in place to reduce the risk of movement of the disease and strict biosecurity import requirements to help reduce the risk of blueberry rust entering the state."

Tasmania first detected blueberry rust among infected plants in the state in 2014 and has endured three outbreaks since then.

According to an article on examiner.com.au¸ about 40 Tasmanian properties had berry plants removed in December 2014 and January 2015 after a blueberry rust infestation was traced to Victoria.

A significant outbreak occurred at Costa Berries' North-West Coast farm at Sulphur Creek in 2016, which resulted in quarantine procedures and impacts on exports.

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