By Andy Nelson, The Packer
Mango imports from Haiti have been banned after three discoveries of fruit flies.
On June 25, agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service found a live fruit fly in a Haitian mango shipment in Florida, said Melissa O'Dell, spokeswoman. Two more fruit flies were discovered July 2 in U.S-bound shipments in Haiti, she said.
The week of July 9, a team of APHIS inspectors was headed to Haiti to conduct a comprehensive review of mango-packing facilities, O'Dell said. Mangoes are supposed to be treated with hot water to prevent fruit fly infestation, O'Dell said.
That review could take weeks, she said. So far, Haitian officials have been cooperative with APHIS, she added.
The ban has not affected shipments of any other fruits or vegetables from Haiti, O'Dell said.
Haiti shipped about $5.3 million worth of mangoes to the U.S. in 2006, according to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Haiti is the only producer of the francine mango variety, said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.
According to a story by the Reuters news service, Haitian officials said the insects came from the U.S. in an empty shipping container. They said Haitian exporters had fully followed USDA procedures and regulations.