There is no evidence to suggest any connection to New Zealand strawberries from a find of needles in Australian strawberries in an Auckland Countdown store, says Strawberry Growers New Zealand Executive Manager Michael Ahern.
“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.
“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.”
Source: Horticulture NZ