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Adelaide fruit bans to last all year after new fly outbreak

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UPDATED | Restrictions on the movement of fruit around metropolitan Adelaide, which impact more than 300 suburbs, have been extended until December after another fruit fly outbreak in Marleston –  the city’s eleventh in four months.

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The Department of Primary Industries declared the Mediterranean Fruit Fly outbreak this morning, covering 15 suburbs in Adelaide’s west including Mile End, Keswick, Plympton and Richmond.

It is the 10th outbreak of Mediterranean Fruit Fly in metropolitan Adelaide, along with one other Queensland Fruit Fly outbreak declared in the Northern Suburb of Ridleyton in February.

Today’s outbreak has prompted the department to enlarge the size of its designated “red area” restrictions in Adelaide, which prohibit the movement of certain fruit within the outbreak zone even for work and school purposes.

Code red restrictions now fully or partially cover 163 suburbs in metropolitan Adelaide.

There are a total of 310 suburbs facing varying levels of fruit movement restrictions, which will now be in place until December 4, 2021.

There are also three ongoing outbreaks of Queensland Fruit Fly in the Riverland, although movement restrictions there will be lifted much earlier in May subject to no further fly detections.

Map of fruit movement restriction areas across Adelaide.

PIRSA Executive Director of Biosecurity Nathan Rhodes said the restrictions are an “essential tactic” to help authorities get on top of the outbreak.

He added that PIRSA is expecting the outbreaks to die down during the winter.

“By this stage of the year, the fruit fly life cycle traditionally slows down significantly for the insect’s ‘over-wintering’ period, and this presents us with an opportunity to make greater inroads with our eradication program,” Rhodes said.

“However, it does also mean restrictions have to stay in place until at least early December.”

Residents in red areas must also pick up any vegetable and fruit that drop from their garden, with PIRSA officials doorknocking and inspecting backyards in affected areas to ensure any fallen produce is removed.

“Some residents will already have red outbreak restrictions in place due to the nearby Black Forest outbreak, others will be changing from being in a yellow suspension to a red outbreak area,” Rhodes said.

The implementation of the ban on fruit movement in January prompted criticism from parents, schools and growers who complained about a lack of consultation on the “lunchbox ban”.

Horticulture Coalition SA Chairman Angelo Demasi said the “Industry is concerned regarding the latest setback”.

“However, we are confident together with State Government we will eventually get on top of these outbreaks,” he said.

“We urge all homeowners with fruit in their backyards not to share their fruit and place all dropped fruit in their green council bin.

“We urge all South Australians to continue to support local growers and buy local fruit and veg and be confident local produce is free of fruit fly.”

He pointed to a 500 per cent growth in homegrown fruit and an unusually tropical summer in Adelaide as contributing to a “perfect storm” leading to the recent spate of fly outbreaks.

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