Infected lime leaves cause a stir

Not complying with Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements has resulted in an importer being fine AUD7500.

The fine came after the company illegally imported kaffir gaffe lime leaves into Australia that were infected with Asian Citrus Canker.

The company’s director pleaded guilty to importing 160kgs of infected leaves and was charged with aggravated illegal import under the Quarantine Act 1908.

The diseased leaves were initially found in a shipping container, with others found in the importer’s cold storage along with some already passed onto retail stores.

Asiatic canker is the most severe form of the disease. Asian Citrus Canker causes widespread damage to citrus trees – affecting the vitality of citrus trees causing fruit and leaves to fall prematurely. Australia doesn’t have it and Australia certainly doesn’t want it!

“In addition to being a legal requirement, accurate and correct declarations of consignments by importers are essential to help protect our unique environment as well as our agriculture sector and economy,” the Department of Agriculture’s First Assistant Secretary of Compliance, Raelene Vivian said.