Buy Aussie, buy safe
BUNDABERG'S Bonna Rd blueberry crop is just about to bloom but Perfection Fresh manager Allan Mahoney hopes the recent recall of two imported frozen berry brands won't impact Australian growers.
The news dominated media as Patties Foods recalled two brands of its imported frozen berries, Nanna's and Creative Gourmet, over Hepatitis A scares, a viral infection of the liver.
Mr Mahoney said it wasn't a good way to start the season.
"Any negative feedback on our product (blueberries) is always detrimental to the growth of the product," Mr Mahoney said.
"But we're looking forward to the season and putting this all behind us."
He said the incidents with imported produce highlighted the importance of buying Australian for peace of mind.
"Australian blueberries are seen around the world as the safest and most stringent and compliant growing conditions in the world," he said.
While Mr Mahoney's 80,000 plants supply fresh blueberries around Australia, he said there was nothing wrong with buying frozen blueberries.
"Obviously fresh is best, but for those consumers who want to go to a frozen product because of price, there is good Australian product out there as well," he said.
"Australian-grown is the safest product you can buy."
Mr Mahoney stressed the importance of reading labels.
"Just take that extra couple of seconds to look at the packaging and see not only where it's packaged, but where it's grown," Mr Mahoney said.
He said the labelling currently for frozen berries wasn't great.
"On fresh product (the labelling) is available, but on frozen, it seems to be not as well communicated," he said.
In a statement, Patties Foods CEO Steven Chaur said the recall came as precautionary measure in the interests of public safety.
"Consumers are asked not to eat the recalled products, and return the packs to the place of purchase, for a full cash refund."
Queensland Health yesterday said a fifth Queenslander, from Brisbane, had been disagnosed with hepatitis A linked to the Nanna's recalled frozen berries.
What's been recalled?
All batches up to and including best before dates:
- Nanna's Mixed Berries 1kg packs, November 22, 2016.
- Nanna's Raspberries 1kg packs, September 15, 2016
- Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g packs, December 10, 2017
- Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 500g packs, October 6, 2017