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Ministry Formally Warns Growers Following Chemical Misuse

27 August 2012

Ministry Formally Warns Growers Following Misuse Of Chemical Spray

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has completed an investigation into the misuse of the antibiotic streptomycin on kiwifruit, and 26 growers who admitted using the chemical outside the strict use conditions have been sent a formal warning letter.

The misuse of the compound constitutes a technical breach of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997.

MPI Director Compliance Dean Baigent says MPI approved the use of streptomycin on kiwifruit under strict use conditions to avoid any possibility of chemical residues occurring in fruit. The conditions included a maximum of three spray treatments onto leaves prior to vine flowering.

“We have found that misuse occurred on 45 different orchards under the management of 26 growers.”

Mr Baigent says the main aim of the investigation was to identify every case of misuse in order that all potentially affected fruit was able to be isolated and kept from sale.

“In this we were successful and both domestic and international markets were able to be assured that no fruit with streptomycin residues was in the supply chain.”

Throughout the investigation MPI worked closely with the kiwifruit marketing body Zespri which co-ordinated a declaration process for growers to come forward if they felt they had breached the conditions.

“There was a 100 percent response from growers and those concerned have co-operated fully throughout the investigation.”

Mr Baigent says a formal warning letter is an appropriate conclusion to the investigation.

“Throughout this process, MPI has been mindful that the country’s kiwifruit growers are facing a desperate situation with Psa threatening their livelihoods.

“The growers concerned voluntarily disclosed their wrong-doing and those who misused product on a larger scale sustained the largest losses through the disposal of their affected crop.

“Additionally the growers concerned have all been informed that any future breaches of the ACVM Act will result in prosecution.”

ENDS

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