Mediterranean Fruit Fly Prompts the U.S. to Ban Certain Dominican Republic Imports

Wed. March 25th, 2015
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez     

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has placed a federal quarantine suspending imports of certain fruits and vegetables from the Dominican Republic to prevent any outbreaks of the Medfly (Mediterranean fruit fly) in the U.S. It has also deployed a campaign placing La Serena, Chile, under quarantine after a similar outbreak of the insect.

APHIS has determined that certain produce from the Dominican Republic and La Serena, where discoveries of the insect have been prevalent as of late, pose too much danger to the U.S. agriculture. Though the insect is not normally found in the U.S., except for in Hawaii, the government is wary of the damage it might inflict were it to be brought in by indigenous areas. 

“Effective immediately, APHIS is restricting imports of certain fruits and vegetables from the Dominican Republic into the United States to prevent the introduction of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly),” APHIS said, according to Government Security News and Dominican Today. “APHIS is also prohibiting overland in-bond transit movements of these materials south of 39° latitude in the United States. APHIS is taking this action in response to multiple detections of Medfly in the Punta Cana region of the Dominican Republic.”

It is understandable why APHIS would be cautious. According to Government Security News the state of California sustained billions of dollars in damages in 1989 due to a Medfly infestation.

A quarantine of a 7.2 kilometer radius (about 4.5 miles) around La Serena has been put in place to prevent any danger of infestation of the fruit fly in the agriculture around the region.

According to a Cooperativa report, Diego Peralta, Regional Director of Agriculture Coquimbo, said that they are taking all necessary measures to enable producers to continue exporting fruit. 

AndNowUKnow will continue to keep you up to date as this story develops.