NZ: Opposition calls for outright ban on grape imports
Fresh Fruit Portal: New Zealand Labour Party’s biosecurity spokesman Damien O’Connor has called for all grape imports to be blocked, after spiders were found in recent table grape shipments from Mexico.
Since the detections were made, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has ordered all Mexican grapes to be withdrawn from retail shelves, and consignments in transit will have to either be fumigated or destroyed.
“There are strict controls in place for the importation of grapes from Mexico (and other countries). In the case of Mexico, grapes are visually inspected and if spiders or other pests are identified, there is a requirement for fumigation,” MPI surveillance manager Brendan Gould said in a release.
But the MPI’s actions are not enough, according to O’Connor, who told Radio New Zealand grapes from all foreign sources should be banned until the government can give assurances the fruit is safe to eat and doesn’t pose a threat to the wine industry. “If the system fails to pick up a poisonous spider then it’s not going to be able to pick up more subtle pests and diseases that could clearly threaten our economy as well as the consumers who come into contact with the products,” O’Connor told the broadcaster.