Suspension of Imported Watermelon Could Cause Short Supply this Summer

If you love adding a little watermelon to your summer menu be warned, a shortage over the coming weeks has been predicted.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) imposed an immediate suspension of imported watermelons after live fruit fly larvae were found during a routine inspection of watermelons from Tonga last week. The length of the suspension will depend on how quickly Tongan authorities can investigate the situation and put measures in place to assure New Zealand.

The flies were found in a consignment that had three containers of watermelon, totalling 59 tonnes. Another separate consignment from Tonga containing 29 tonnes of watermelon is currently on hold and given the suspension will not be inspected or cleared.

A further export of another five containers of watermelons from Tonga has now been cancelled.

The domestic supply of watermelon will begin in January.