The Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) sent a shipment of 25 tons of fresh Chilean pears back to Chile after discovering it was infected by a virus.
The fruit was inspected by ICA officials in the Colombian port city of Barranquilla. Upon detection of the ‘San Jose scale’ virus, the shipment of more than 25 tons of fresh pears, originally destined to be sold throughout Colombia, was reloaded on board and sent back to Chile.
The CEO of ICA, Luis Humberto Martinez Lacouture, said the San Jose virus affects fruit such as apples, pears, and peaches, causing red spots on the fruit and killing the branches, reported Colombian newspaper El Heraldo.
According to a press release on the ICA website, there are currently no scientific reports of the virus’s presence in Colombia. If it were to be introduced, the virus would have the ability to infect and kill whole trees and plantations, thus giving the ICA good reason to reject the import of infected fruit.
So far in 2014, the ICA has inspected 320 shipments of fresh pears imported to Colombia – a total of 10,442 tons. Of these, 8,674 tons were imported from Chile.