Stone fruit recall: fruit fly found in SA

23rd February 2021 | Eativity editors

Stone fruit has been pulled from major supermarket shelves after the discovery of Queensland fruit fly larvae in an interstate consignment of commercial fruit, prompting an urgent recall by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA).

PIRSA’s Executive Director of Biosecurity Nathan Rhodes says the department is investigating the detection of the imported fruit, which came from Victoria.

“During the last week there have been a number of larvae detections in Victorian produce reported to PIRSA through the fruit fly hotline, which was purchased from a variety of retail outlets including ALDI, Coles, Woolworths and a local farmer’s market,” he says.

“The department is investigating this incident in liaison with Agriculture Victoria, including the treatment of this fruit prior to its shipment into the state.”

These pesky flies lay eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on trees and also in fallen fruit.

Rhodes stresses that this does not constitute an outbreak under the National Fruit Fly Code of Practice. However, with the state responding to a series of outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide and the Riverland, the situation is being closely monitored.

Maintaining its status as the only mainland state that is fruit fly-free is vital to SA’s $1.3 billion horticultural industry, 37,500 jobs and 4000 businesses that are at risk of fruit fly.

In this instance, quick action from the public has alerted the department to the problem. However, Rhodes says they’re still regarding the incident with “a great deal of seriousness”. As a result, there has been a withdrawal of affected produce from shelves.

A fruit fly outbreak could affect both domestic and international horticulture trade.

“We’re working with distributors to make sure this happens as quickly as possible,” Rhodes says. “The department is following up as to why pre-delivery treatment of this fruit under the interstate certification assurance process seems to have failed in this instance. Until the investigation is complete, controls have been put in place on future consignments.”

This incident underlines how important it is for SA locals to regularly check all fruit, particularly if you’re aware that your purchase has come from interstate. So if you see anything unusual – any sign of larvae or maggots – place the fruit in a sealed bag or container and contact the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010 to arrange collection.

For advice on keeping SA fruit fly-free, head to the SA government’s information website.

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