Our stories over the past month have generated many questions so we asked the Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment department to answer them. These responses come from a department spokesperson.
What is fruit fly host produce?
Host produce includes apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, capsicums, cherries, figs, grapefruit, mangoes, mulberries, nashis, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes. Minor host produce includes lemons, limes, quinces, pumpkins and walnuts. Read ‘Susceptible fruit and vegetables’ section for more information.
Why are there still no bins on some roads, but signs to tell you to dispose of fruit?
The priority has been to place bins and signs on major roads at the entry/exit points and some intersections within the control area. Static and electronic road signs are in place. Additional signs and bins are being rolled out.
Why are tourists still entering Tasmania and not being asked to dispose of fruit?
Tourists entering the state are being asked to dispose of fruit. This is being done through signs and detector dogs. There are legal restrictions on people bringing fruit and vegetables into Tasmania. People are not allowed to bring fruit or vegetables with them when they come to, or return to, Tasmania. Signage at entry and exit points re-enforce this message. Biosecurity Tasmania ensures everyone coming into Tasmania is fully aware that they may not bring fruit or vegetables with them – and prosecutes those who fail to comply.
What are you doing to keep the public informed of what they should do?
Road signage is one of a range of information measures being used to inform and engage the wider community about fruit fly.
There are a range of other measures including:
- Advertising in newspapers
- Facebook and social media updates, including Biosecurity Tasmania and TasALERT
- Website updates
- Information sheets, including general FAQS and information for home growers, industry, road side stallholders, event holders and schools
- Letterbox drops – a mail-out to the wider Devonport control started on February 24 and George Town and surrounds on February 26
- Roadside Rest Area information booths
- Postcards, posters and pull-up banners are being delivered in and around control areas to council offices, retail outlets, Service Tasmania outlets, tourist information centres, libraries, bus companies, airports, rental car companies and the Spirit of Tasmania terminal
- Media releases
- Public engagement, including Biosecurity Tasmania staff visiting farmers markets and events to raise awareness and
- Industry forums.
Why have supermarkets removed fruit?
Fruit fly host produce was recalled in Tasmania after the detection of fruit fly larvae in a nectarine from a Devonport grocery store. Trace back on the nectarine confirmed it came from interstate and had been through an accredited fruit fly treatment facility in Victoria. Tasmanian wholesalers and retailers have been asked to withdraw at-risk produce from the market.
Why are there no warning signs at supermarkets for tourists/those who haven't seen media coverage?
Material and information has been provided and Biosecurity Tasmania has been working closely with the retail industry to provide information about the fruit fly incursion and the recent produce recall. Supermarkets and retailers have been proactive in providing information about fruit fly and the importance of being vigilant. An industry liaison officer has been visiting growers and producers, supermarkets and other retail stores. A retail information package has also been developed for retailers and wholesalers. Information for retailers is also available on the department website.
What can I do with fruit from trees in my back yard?
Within the control area dispose of fallen host fruit safely by placing it in two plastic bags. Once it has been double-bagged, place it in your normal garbage bin. As a precautionary approach, and as part of a hygiene program to further reduce risk while we are in this period, we ask people not to compost. Fruit fly host produce scraps must not be composted or disposed of in green waste as fruit fly larvae can survive the composting process.
Does all host produce need to be double bagged?
Yes – this is correct at the moment as part of the fruit fly host-produce recall across the entire state. When you dispose of rotten or old host produce, it must be double-wrapped in plastic bags before putting it in the bin. Do not compost or dump it. Read the ‘Recall Frequently Asked Questions’ for more.
What is being done about wild blackberries?
It is advised to confine foraging to locations outside control areas. However, wild fruit can be harvested in a control area as long as it is consumed or processed within the control area. Be aware that by picking blackberries, wild apples or other fruit along roadsides or other public land in a control area, you could be spreading fruit fly.
What should I do with scraps from lunch boxes?
Scraps can be brought home and double-bagged. Place produce inside a plastic bag, seal that bag then place inside another bag and seal. This can then be disposed of in general waste bins or children can be given bags to dispose of scraps. If host fruit is left at schools, and it is disposed of it in large skip bins, schools have been asked that the lids be kept closed and arrangements made to empty them regularly.
What should I do if I find fruit fly on my property?
If you think you may have produce infested with fruit fly, call Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774. For more information visit dpipwe.tas.gov.au/fruitfly.