VERACRUZ: Mexican customs officials have quarantined 3,000 tonnes of rice from Pakistan after they discovered that the shipment was contaminated by a tiny beetle that destroys grain products, officials said Tuesday.
A customs official in the Gulf of Mexico port city of Veracruz said the Khapra beetle, or Trogoderma granarium, was found during the inspection of 120 containers from Pakistan.
The shipment is in quarantine while authorities decide whether to destroy the rice or return it to Pakistan, the president of the Veracruz customs agent union, Anibal Arturo Rosas Reyes, told AFP.
Officials have been instructed to ensure that "every rice container from Pakistan be inspected" to protect Mexican crops from the risk of contamination, he added.
The brown beetle, which is between two and three millimeters long, is a destructive pest that feeds on grains and cereal products.
Mexico imports 70 percent of the 100,000 tonnes of rice it consumes per year.
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