The USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service recently enacted new barriers to the entry of blueberries from Chile into the United States, but this time the action by APHIS is not due to Cyclosporiasis parasite in fresh produce or Hepatitis A in berry blends like last year's action. This time it's because of a moth, specifically it's the European grapevine moth and its cousins that the agency is trying to keep out of the country.
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, since the service is not as readily 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.
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