NZ strawberry growers reassure public over needle discovery

 

A group representing strawberry growers say there is no reason to think New Zealand strawberries will be targeted in the Australian needle scare.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has revealed three needles were discovered in a punnet of Australian strawberries bought at an Auckland supermarket last week, and it might not be an isolated incident.

Strawberry Growers New Zealand Executive Manager Michael Ahern says there is no evidence to suggest any connection to New Zealand strawberries.

"While this is naturally of concern to our industry, this is an Australian strawberry issue and there is no evidence to suggest any connection to New Zealand-grown strawberries," Mr Ahern says.

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.

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

Newshub