During a routine inspection in New Zealand, spotted winged drosophila (SWD) was detected in one out of 600 Navel orange samples. Citrus is not a known host for the SWD.
Because of this detection, New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has instructed USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to stop writing phystosanitary certificates for citrus exports to New Zealand, while they work with APHIS to conduct a thorough investigation.
Meanwhile, APHIS is conferring with MPI about how to handle arrivals that are already in transit.
California Citrus Mutual officials say they are working in partnership with allied industry organizations, research leaders, and USDA APHIS to investigate the detection, provide reasonable alternatives for shipments already on the water, and regain access as quickly as possible.
The industry and USDA are maintaining that whole, intact citrus is not a host for SWD and that this detection was an extreme anomaly.