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Importation of avocados from North America



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PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH, MR RALPH HUNT

IMPORTATION OF AVOCADOS FROM NORTH AMERICA

The Minister for Health, Mr Ralph Hunt, said today that

Australia would continue to import under quarantine control avocado fruit and avocado planting material from the United States of America.

The decision to continue the imports followed an

investigation of the disease status of avocados in the United

States by Dr R. Ikin, a virologist from the Plant Quarantine Research Station at Canberra.

The investigation by Dr Ikin was in response to concern

expressed by the Australian Avocado Growers Federation that avocado

fruit imported from the U.S.A. could carry sun blotch and black streak disorders which could seriously jeopardise avocado production in Australia. ,

Mr Hunt said that Dr Ikin had found that avocado fruit exported from the U.S.A. to Australia only came from one certified

virus-tested grove in California and was picked, graded and packed

under government supervision to a standard which met fully Australian plant quarantine requirements.

The only known authority on the black streak disorder of avocado, Dr H.D. Ohr of the University of California, Riverside, had

stated that the disease was not transmitted through fruit or seed and Dr Ikin had found that the certified avocado fruit exported to

Australia came from a grove where black streak had not occurred.

The Minister emphasised that very cautious

quarantine procedures would be continued in relation to the

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importation of any avocado planting material.

He said that very strict controls would be maintained on

any imported bud wood to ensure that there were adequate quarantine

safeguards consistent with the need to introduce from time to time

new varieties of avocados.

Further information: B. Gwynn Jones -Quarantine Information Officer 062 86 1355

CANBERRA, 20 October 1978.