Malta, authorities blocked 3 tonnes citrus fruits imported from Sicily

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese authorities blocked more than three tonnes of oranges, lemons and mandarines imported from Sicily were blocked from entering the Maltese market on Saturday morning. The 3,033kg of citrus fruits was packed into 306 boxes and brought to Malta via the catamaran from Pozzallo.
The agriculture ministry said it was returned after inspectors noted that the fruit was packed together with leaves and stems, in violation of pest control rules. The Plant Health Directorate will also be seeking to sanction the importer, in line with the Plant Quarantine Act.
Citrus trees are vulnerable to a variety of pests, with the Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) being among the most dangerous.
CTV is present all across the globe and impacts all citrus trees. The virus cannot be controlled by any pesticide, and the only control mechanism for this disease is that of uprooting and burning infected trees and applying pesticides for the vectors. Malta has seen a number of CTV outbreaks in the past decade.
The agriculture ministry said, “Inspections are carried out to ensure organisms that can harm local plants are not allowed into the country and given the chance to spread,” adding, “the illegal trade of citrus fruit that does not conform with Maltese laws places local agriculture at risk. The interception of this fruit is a testament to the government’s commitment to protect local farmers and consumers”.
– photo DOI –

Source: medNews