Monday, 24 September 2018 13:59

NZ strawberries in the clear — growers

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  No needles here. No needles here.

New Zealand strawberry growers say there is no evidence to suggest any connection to the food safety scare engulfing Australian growers.

They say needles found in Australian strawberries in an Auckland Countdown store on Saturday, was an “Australian strawberry issue”.

Several batches of strawberries in Australia have also been found with needles in recent weeks.

Strawberry Growers New Zealand executive manager Michael Ahern says while this is naturally of concern to their industry, this is an Australian strawberry issue and there is no evidence to suggest any connection to New Zealand-grown strawberries.

He says New Zealand strawberries are ripening nicely with the approach of warmer spring weather.

"While we have a heightened awareness of the issues, there is absolutely no reason to think New Zealand strawberries will be targeted."

The structure of the New Zealand strawberry industry is based around family farms and hands-on owner operators. Some of these operations go back more than two generations and have strong local connections. The New Zealand public can trust and rely on the diligence of such growers, everyday New Zealanders, to deliver produce and deliver safe food.

"The biggest issue reported by strawberry growers right now is supply. We just need a bit more sunshine, daylight and warmth, and we will be underway to providing that traditionally positive feeling associated with New Zealand strawberries that summer and Christmas must be coming.

If people are genuinely worried, our advice is that they should cut the strawberries before eating, to provide absolute confidence."

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