Apples imported from America pose biosecurity risk and could contain maggots, viruses and a dangerous bacterial disease known as fire blight
- Australia may soon be importing apples from Idaho, Oregon and Washington
- Report on proposal found 24 pests associated with fruit need risk-management
- These included maggots and fire blight, a highly destructive bacterial disease
Apples could soon be imported to Australia from the US but there are fears the fruit could be riddled with foreign pests including maggots and bacterial diseases.
The Australian Federal Department of Agriculture released a draft report into America’s proposal to import the apples from Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
The report found that 24 pests associated with the apples potentially being imported needed to undergo risk-management measures.
One of the pests found was fire blight, a contagious bacterial disease that can destroy trees and even a whole orchard.
Apples could soon be imported to Australia from the US but there are fears the fruit could be riddled with foreign pests including maggots and bacterial diseases (stock image)
The report suggested the apples could be imported if certain biosecurity measures were in place like inspections and examining fruit samples.
Phil Turnball, the chief executive for Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) said it was ‘quite easy’ for pests to make their way across countries.
‘Diseases can arrive on leaf matter that comes in a carton of fruit or come in the apples themselves,’ he told the ABC.
‘If they’ve failed to correctly identify the risks or they’ve put in inadequate measures, we’ll be calling on the Australian Government to say no to US imports.’
Mr Turnball said he was ‘concerned’ the pests could also impact other farmers who grow citrus plants and berries.
‘From our point of view these pests are much more than a nuisance, many of them don’t have any treatment so you’re forced to rip out the orchard,’ he said.
Feedback can be made to the draft report which is available on the government’s website.
Mr Turnball said the APAL will make a submission.
One of the pests associated with the apples was fire blight, a contagious bacterial disease that can kill off trees and even a whole orchard (stock image)