Vietnam plans to cease the import of 38 kinds of fruits from Australia from 2015, the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced on December 17.

The department's decision follows the fruit fly epidemic that has affected fruit production in Australia.

Head of the department Nguyen Xuan Hong told the Vietnam Plus news website that though fruit flies do not cause serious harm to human health, the fruits could possibly spread the outbreak. Thus, it became necessary to suspend the import of Australian fruits to protect the country from the epidemic.

Hong added that customs officers are now required to carefully check all batches of Australian fruits reaching Vietnam to ensure that they are safe for customers.

Hong said the import of fruits will be resumed as soon as Australia announces that the country is free from the fruit fly epidemic, and the imported fruits meet Vietnam's quarantine standards.

Statistics show that in the first ten months of 2014, Vietnam imported 2,000 tonnes of Australian fruits, most of them being apples, pears and oranges, besides grapes and cherries.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, fruit flies cost 300 million AUD (245.2 million USD) a year in terms of loss of export markets.-VNA