Containment and destruction of Khapra beetle in South Australia

Statement from Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Kim Ritman

Khapra beetle larvae and adults that were found on imported goods at two premises in Adelaide and one on Kangaroo Island have been contained and destroyed giving a high level of confidence that the pest is not present in Australia.

The source of the Khapra beetle larvae and adults has been traced to a single consignment of imported plastic food grade containers.

The department has strong confidence that there has been no opportunity for contact between the consignment and the grain supply chain.

The actions taken to date and the controlled nature of the premises affected means Australia remains free of Khapra beetle and there is no change to our plant health status.

As a precaution the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity staff continue active trapping and tracing activities in line with established biosecurity procedures. No Khapra larvae or beetles have been found beyond the affected premises in South Australia.

Australia has a robust biosecurity system with strict measures in place to reduce the risk that pests are introduced to Australia—and established procedures in place when they do occur to manage the risks and eradicate the pests. This is a business as usual activity for the department as part of the national plant health system.

While the pest has been destroyed, the department, along with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, is undertaking a range of measures to ensure the pest is not present. These include installing traps at premises that received the consignment and ongoing monitoring—no Khapra beetle larvae or adults have so far been found in any traps.

The department is continuing its investigations into the import pathway to try to determine the overseas source of the beetle—indications are that the source is a contaminated sea container.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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