23 Sep 2013

Origin of live beetle in tobacco investigated

3:38 pm on 23 September 2013

The Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating the origin of a live beetle found in a pouch of imported tobacco.

It was discovered on 14 September by a Hawke's Bay man in a packet of Park Drive tobacco.

MPI surveillance and incursion investigation manager Mark Bullians says the bug is commonly called a warehouse beetle but the ministry is still to establish which country it came from.

If the beetle established itself in this country, it could be a threat to grain, seeds and vegetables.

Once the consignment of tobacco it came from is identified, Mr Bullians says it is possible all of the product may have to be checked for signs of the beetle and treated to mitigate any potential biosecurity risk.