A temporary ban has been placed on the importation of fruits and romaine lettuce due to pest and E.coli outbreaks.
That is according to Head of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit, Nelson Laville during an interview with the media.
Laville stated that recently Italy and Spain released a notification of an outbreak of a fruit fly which affects fruits of the two countries.
He noted that the countries also alerted its various importers that they have not contained the outbreak, which has led to a temporary ban on importation from the countries.
“Italy notified that they had an outbreak of the Oriental fruit-fly and this fruit-fly is not present in Dominica. But this fruit-fly also has 300 hosts which include citrus, avocadoes, bananas, and so forth. And because of that they do not yet have it under control, so Italy and Spain have reported presence of this fruit-fly, and so we are a putting a temporary restriction on the importation of fruits from Italy and Spain,” Laville stated.
He noted that although the ban is temporary, during its duration no permits will be issued to anyone importing from the two countries.
“This is not an indefinite restriction. Eventually when the situation is under control, we will reevaluate the decision. But presently there is a restriction. So we are not issuing any permits to importers who wish to import fruits with the origin of Italy and Spain, and that includes grapes, pears, and apples,” he noted.
He also explained that while Dominica does not import directly from Italy and Spain, we do import from Guadeloupe, and Guadeloupe imports from Italy and Spain.
Laville added that a ban was also placed on romaine lettuce due to an E.coli outbreak in Canada.
“Also this week we got notifications through our networks that there is an outbreak of E.coli in parts of Canada and the United States, and it was found on romaine lettuce. Now a lot of our importers bring in romaine lettuce, so what we have done is actually put another restriction on the importation of Romaine lettuce,” he announced.
He also added that they are not issuing any permits for romaine lettuce while he advised persons to stay away from romaine lettuce for now.
He also asked retailers to remove and destroy the stock that is already present from the shelves.
“This is an action not only in Dominica, but some of our regional partners have done that as well as some of our colleague islands. This is also being done in the US. So we have put a temporary ban on romaine lettuce,” Laville further added.