JOHOR BARU: The State Agriculture Department has banned the sale of “Mexican jumping beans” - which are considered a pest - after confirming that no import permit has been issued for the beans.
Its director Sanusi Jamari said the product could have evaded quarantine checks by being declared as a toy when entering the country some time late last year.
“The seeds harbour a type of moth.
“We are especially cautious about importing any plant from Mexico as the country is regarded as an endemic to the South America Leaf Blight disease which attacks rubber trees,” he said.
He said many plants from there or South American countries did not exist in this region and could not be brought in without clearance.
“The bean is classified as a pest in most countries, including the United States,” he said when contacted, adding that the beans were something new to the department and more time was needed to study its life cycle.
Sanusi said the department had sent officers to the ground to ascertain the number of outlets selling the “jumping beans” and the sellers were asked to surrender the product voluntarily to be destroyed.
He added that the department was tracing the importer and distributor, who could be charged under the Plant Quarantine Act 1976.
Sanusi said the beans were the seeds of a type of shrub called Sebastiana Pavoniana which contained the larvae of a moth - Laspeyresia Saltitans - that fed on the seeds for seven months. He said the moth was harmful to crops and plants.
The beans, sold in major shopping complexes in the city, have emerged as a new “pet” in town as many are fascinated by its ability to jump and move on its own.
Sanusi urged those who had bought the beans to contact plant protection officer Ahmad Kamil at 07-223 9395.
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