Japan places temporary ban on Aussie mangoes

Posted by Editorial on 15th January 2010

Unidentified insect larvae discovered in a mango at a south-east Queensland export facility has seen Japan enforce a temporary ban on Australian mangoes.

Bruce Nastasi, a far north Queensland grower and exporter, told the ABC the ban could last for up to 20 days while inspectors wait for the larvae to hatch, with operations then continuing as normal.

“If it’s shown to be fruit fly, that’s the fruit fly that our facilities are registered for,” he said. “I can’t see why we should not immediately be returned to export permits for the facilities that have had no problems and they investigate what happened at that particular facility.”

Mango exports receive vapour heat treatment (VHT) to kill larvae and the news has therefore surprised Mr Nastasi, with quarantine authorities now assessing systems at the plant.

“The treatment has been proven all over the world,” he said. “So to find live larvae, if it is fruit fly larvae, I don’t know – I can’t answer that.”

The news of the ban comes as Queensland introduces new VHT plants to help the sector grow their export sales to record highs.

The value of the Queensland mango industry last season was approximately $50 million, with exports totalling 2,618 tonnes and a value of $11.8 million.