South Australian Produce Market taking steps to protect SA’s $50M strawberry industry
The South Australian Produce Market, with assistance from local wholesalers and growers, are sourcing a x-ray machine to encourage wholesalers to check pre-packed strawberries coming from interstate, to ensure the safety of strawberries eaten by consumers.
Wholesalers at the South Australian Produce Market have Queensland and Western Australian strawberries currently available for independent fruit and vegetable retailers to purchase, awaiting the start of the South Australian season in October.
Brands that have been confirmed as effected by the recent contamination have been removed from the South Australian marketplace including, Berry Obsession, Berry Licious & Donnybrook Berries.
Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Produce Market, Angelo Demasi, says the wholesale market is taking matters into their own hands to ensure the safety of consumers and protect the livelihood of growers.
“The South Australian Produce Market, along with input from South Australian wholesalers and growers, have decided to source a metal detector from another SA company to assist in ensuring the safety of strawberries for consumers.
“Incidences like this can ruin businesses and we’d hate to see a grower out of business because of actions outside of his control.
“We want to ensure our industry can survive throughout the season and lead strongly into the South Australia’s strawberry season.
“We encourage consumers to continue purchasing and eating strawberries, taking small precautions, for their safety,” Mr Demasi said.
So far, 2.5 tones of recalled strawberries have been disposed of with a value of $17,000.
Scalzi Produce representative, Mario Grandre was made to dump recalled Donnybrooks Berries that were recalled this week and fears he will need to dump more produce, from different brands, if additional cases of strawberry contamination come to light.
“I have never seen a case of contamination and recall like this in all my years at the South Australian Produce Market.
“This is devastating for the entire industry and will have disastrous effects going forward for strawberry growers in SA,” Mr Grande said.
SA Health has advised all consumers cut up strawberries before consumption.