Melon, cucumber and courgette imports into New Zealand have been suspended from Australia, until further notice, after the mottle mosaic virus was found on Australian produce by NZ customs. New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries suspended the imports coming into the country as a precautionary measure to prevent the disease from spreading within New Zealand.
Countdown has already begun notifying customers in store that courgettes and watermelons may be temporarily unavailable. However, the import suspension is set to be short-lived with Foodstuffs having said that they were expecting new imports any day.
The virus, which was first spotted on August 15th, was found in a shipment of watermelons that had come from Australia. Because the virus is known to affect other fruits and vegetables from the cucurbit variety, a temporary suspension was placed on all shipments of watermelons, courgettes, pumpkin, scaloppini, zucchini, and cucumbers coming from Australia. As of August 27, new stricter requirements were placed on cucurbit fruits and vegetable imports.
Mottle mosaic virus is a plant pathogen that affects the growth rate and cosmetic look of fruits and vegetables. It commonly reduces the yield from growers by 25 percent.