South Australia has strengthened its import requirements, following the discovery of fruit fly larvae in four consignments of Queensland mangoes sent to South Australia during the summer harvest, which threatened its fruit fly-free status.
The reforms include a ban on fruit that has been heat-treated as well as stronger conditions for the use of a fumigation chemical treatment.
One of the infested mango consignments had been subjected to a hot-water treatment and another to methyl-bromide fumigation.
Geoff Raven, the manager for plant and food standards at Biosecurity South Australia, said investigations found both treatments had met existing protocols for interstate certification.
“They found that the chemical fumigators actually complied with the protocols and with the heat treatment, again there was no non-conformance.
“So the protocols were followed to the letter, which tells us that there’s a problem with the protocols,” he said.
The resulting suspension of heat treatments has virtually banned the trade of organic fruit to South Australia.
Fruit treated by methyl-bromide must now have a temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, up from 12 degrees, during the fumigation process.