Print this page

Melons off the shelves after New Zealand import suspended

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

New Zealand consumers may have to go without melons after a suspension of imports from Australia. The Ministry for Primary Industries had suspended the import of melons (rockmelon, honeydew and watermelon), cucumber and courgettes after finding the cucumber mottle mosaic virus on Australian produce at the border report FreshPlaza.

Imports were restricted to prevent this disease from entering New Zealand.  But supermarkets say the lack of availability should be short-lived.

Countdown had been putting notices in its supermarkets telling customers that because of import restrictions, watermelons and courgettes from Australia are unavailable.

New-season domestically grown courgettes will start coming onto the market about mid-September, while the melon season will not start until early January.

An MPI spokeswoman said the virus was detected on a consignment of watermelon by border staff as part of its routine border clearance inspections and was diagnosed by its laboratory on August 15.

According to, the virus was first found on a consignment of watermelons from Australia. As the virus was known to infect other types of fruit and vegetables hosts of the cucurbit family, including pumpkin, scallopini, zucchini, cucumbers and other types of melon a suspension was put on these imports from Australia.