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We don’t need nuked tomatoes in New Zealand

1 May 2013

We don’t need nuked tomatoes in New Zealand

Foods that need to be irradiated to remove pests should not be imported into New Zealand, the Green Party says.

“New Zealand does not irradiate domestic food so it makes no sense to allow it for imported products, especially when those foods are already grown here,” Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning said.

Today commercial tomato growers called for compulsory labelling on all irradiated produce after an earlier Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) decision to allow irradiated tomatoes and capsicums to be imported. A final decision is yet to be made by Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye.

“New Zealand growers produce tomatoes and capsicums year-round so there is no need to permit irradiated products into the country,” Mr Browning said.

“Problems with strong pesticides used by importers are not fixed by replacing them with irradiation.

“Where serious biosecurity risks are likely, New Zealand should stop such imports, especially where there is local product.

A few irradiated exotic foods such as some mangoes and lychee are already permitted by FSANZ to be irradiated for import to New Zealand, although they can be sourced from fruit fly risk-free countries.

“There are many alternative techniques, such as heat or cold treatments, controlled atmospheres, and ozone treatments that can be used if imports are still seen as critical.

“Irradiation destroys Vitamin C and depletes other nutrients in fruit and vegetables, which is why the only produce we see in New Zealand supermarkets with irradiation labels are exotic imports such as lychees, persimmons and papayas.

“In Australia irradiation of pet food was stopped when cats suffered neurological damage after eating irradiated dry food.

“While health concerns exist and biosecurity risks remain, New Zealand produce by New Zealand producers for New Zealanders is the way to go,” Mr Browning said.

For more information:

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/catfood-irradiation-banned-as-pet-theory-proved-20090529-bq8h.html#ixzz2RzYPvkFB


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