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Kedgley Blasts Turner & Growers' Nuked Fruit Plans

Kedgley blasts Turner & Growers' plans to nuke fruit

Green MP Sue Kedgley is appealing to New Zealand's biggest produce company Turners & Growers' to drop their plans to continue building a food irradiation plant in Queensland despite the collapse of their American partners Surebeam.

The plant is to irradiate Australian and tropical fruit to import to the New Zealand market.

"Investing millions of dollars in a controversial technology that consumers would reject would be a monumental blunder," said Ms Kedgley, Green spokesperson for Food Safety.

"As New Zealand's biggest produce company, Turners & Growers should be well aware that New Zealand consumers want fresh, unadulterated fruit & veggies - not ones that have been nuked.

"Turners & Growers are not listening to consumers," said Ms Kedgley "Do they want to go the same way as Surebeam?

Vigorous consumer opposition to irradiated foods in the United States is behind the bankruptcy of the US-based Surebeam irradiation business, "and New Zealand consumers don't want a bar of irradiated food either", said Ms Kedgley. "They have made that abundantly clear, but Turners & Growers don't seem to be listening."

There is good reason for the growing consumer opposition to irradiation. It creates carcinogenic compounds called 2-ACBs (2-alkylcyclobutanones) in a number of foods, including mangoes which are likely to be the first nuked foods allowed into the country.

"Scientists in Europe are urging caution after studies linked these chemicals with bowel cancer and genetic damage. Consumers are saying 'no thanks', but Turners & Growers appear determined to inflict this unsafe food on New Zealand consumers regardless.

"There is no need to import irradiated fruit from fruit-fly infested Queensland when we can we can get non-radiated produce from other countries," said Ms Kedgley.

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