Neither fears about last year’s Cyclosporiasis parasite in fresh produce nor Hepatitis A in berry blends had anything to do with the APHIS action. Instead, it’s the European grapevine moth and its cousins that the agency is trying to keep out of the country.
And, since the insects might ride in on blueberries from Chile, APHIS has ordered enhanced inspections at the ports of entry for berries currently in transit and fumigation for shipments that are still in the fields. Fumigations to eliminate the insects are expected to occur in Chile prior to export as the service is not currently available at U.S. entry ports.
European grape moths, vine moths and grape berry moths are invasive species found in Chile. They are also found in Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
The insects were listed as exotic organisms of high invasive risk by APHIS in 2008 and are subject to quarantine in the U.S. They’ve been intercepted at U.S. ports of entry 20 times since 1984. The pest is a threat to 27 different types of plants, including grapes, berries, cherries, currants, lilacs, nectarines and plums.
The moths are not a direct threat to human health or food safety.© Food Safety News