On Monday we told you about a 24-hour quarantine checkpoint which was placed on the southern highway after Mediterranean fruit flies were detected at various points in the Toledo District, Mango Creek and along the Placencia Peninsula. The Mediterranean Fruit Fly, also known as Ceratitis Capitata, is considered as one of the world’s most destructive fruit pests, capable of causing extensive damage to fruit crops and in turn can be detrimental to Belize’s import market. Yesterday, we caught up with Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Gaspar Vega and asked him for an update on that situation.
Hon Gaspar Vega – Minister of Natural Resources:
We have already started a quarantine in the entire south, from Silk Grass up where we have check-points. But most importantly, what we’re trying to do is to inform the general public what it means to us, because some people might get upset. We have to inform the general public what it means if we get decertified, how it’s going to effect the entire country. At the end of the day, everybody would be affected. As you know, we’re doing the cattle sweep right now, where were going to be certified to have clean meat. We don’t want to be decertified with plants. These are things that the general public must be informed, so that they cooperate with the different operatives that we have.
As we reported on Monday, the Mediterranean fruit fly poses nothreats for those who eat a fruit infested with the Fly. We had spoken earlier this week with Plant Health Officer, responsible for the med Fly Program in Belize, Ernan Zetina.
Ernan Zetina – Plant Health Officer:
There’s absolutely no threat for humans that consume a fruit that would be infested with the Med Fly. It’s like eating a guava that is infested with a fruit-fly worm. Most people would not eat it anyway, ‘cause as soon as they bite into a fruit and see that there is a worm, they would throw away the fruit. That is one of the ways that the Med Fly is spread. People would go into the neighboring countries that a Med Fly outbreak, buy for example stuff they can’t get in Belize, an apple or a pear, bring it into Belize, bite into it, they see a worm and they throw it along the road. This is how the Med Fly gets introduced into Belize.