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Greens Warn Of Kiwifruit Spraying Dangers To Health

Green Party warns of dangers to health and agriculture over kiwifruit spraying

The kiwifruit industry should abandon plans to spray the antibiotic Streptomycin over kiwifruit orchards, Green Party food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Kiwifruit growers are on the verge of using the antibiotic spray in a bid to rid orchards of the bacterial disease PSA (Pseudomonas syringae pv Actinidiae). The antibiotic Streptomycin is used for the treatment of tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, and some respiratory infections.

"The spraying of the antibiotic Streptomycin would inevitably lead to a build-up of resistant bacteria in the environment, and this could have serious, long term implications for human health," Ms Kedgley said.

"Already, we have a pool of Streptomycin-resistant bacteria in our livestock industries.

"The recent Food Safety Authority's survey of antibiotic resistance bacteria found Streptomycin-resistant bacteria in very young calves, pigs, and poultry.

"Research shows that antibiotics are becoming less effective in treating diseases as antibiotics enter the human food chain through overuse in industrial farming."

Ms Kedgley pointed out that if residues of Streptomycin were found in exported Kiwifruit, this could be devastating to our exports, as the European Union do not permit residues of antibiotics in imported fruit.

"I am also concerned that spraying antibiotics over kiwifruit could affect our honey producing sector. Beehives are placed in kiwifruit orchards in spring to pollinate kiwifruit, and bees could take residues of antibiotics back to their hives.

"If residues of antibiotics were found in honey exports, this would affect our lucrative honey exports, as the European Union would reject our honey if traces of antibiotics were found in it.

"The kiwifruit industry need to find other ways of dealing with the disease PSA," said Ms Kedgley.

"Copper based sprays are being used successfully overseas to manage the infection and our orchardists should follow their example."

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