A single fruit fly larvae has been found in imported nectarines by a Launceston shopper.
The detection was made on Thursday, one day after fruit fly control zones were lifted in the North and North-West.
The control zones have been in place for a year since fruit fly was first detected in Tasmanian apricots on Flinders Island.
It has restricted fruit movements, imports and exports, from regions including George Town and along to the North-West to Latrobe and impacted on fruit growers.
Detection of the pest has also restricted export trade in key markets in China and Indonesia.
However, Biosecurity Tasmania and Fruit Growers Tasmania allayed concerns on Friday the detection would impact on the state’s reinstated pest-free status.
The larvae was found in imported fruit from Victoria and has been traced to a single consignment from a single grower.
“The message that we have for producers is that the detection is not an outbreak and people need to be vigilant,” Fruit Growers Tasmania president Stuart Burgess said.
“Detections continue to happen in areas with pest-free status and this is business as usual, it won’t affect our producers.”
Biosecurity Tasmania general manager Lloyd Klumpp said the infected nectarines had been removed from supermarket shelves and a full “trace-back and trace-forward” investigation had been undertaken.
He said Biosecurity Tasmania staff would also be sent to Victoria to investigate how the breach occurred.
Dr Klumpp praised the actions of the Launceston resident, who alerted authorities about the larvae find on Thursday.
“An essential part of an effective biosecurity system is also a community that is knowledgeable and actively supporting positive biosecurity outcomes,” Dr Klumpp said.
“Community vigilance is an important part of the biosecurity system and the wider message to the Tasmanian community is continue to be aware of signs of fruit fly and remain vigilant,” he said.
“This includes checking any stone fruit or mangoes for any signs of fruit fly or any other pests.”
The detection is the second time infected Victorian fruit has made its way into Tasmania, with a consignment of grapefruit carrying the pest across the Bass Strait in March.
The state government issued a “please explain” at the time to the Victorian Government to explain how infected fruit could get through its treatment facility and onto supermarket shelves in Tasmania.
Suspected fruit fly reports can be made to Biosecurity Tasmania via the Fruit Fly Hotline on (03) 6165 3774.
More information on how to detect fruit fly, and Tasmania’s response to the pest, is available on the DPIPWE website.
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