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NZ: Kiwifruit antibiotic injections 'wrong'

Kiwifruit growers who illegally injected their crops with antibiotics "panicked and did the wrong thing", according to an industry body.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Trebilco speaking on TV One's Breakfast said that growers resorted to treating their crops with antibiotics when the Psa virus was at its worst.

"We need to bear in mind this happened in September/October last year, and at that time Psa growers were seeing symptoms rampant throughout their orchards, and so some growers obviously panicked and did the wrong thing," he said.

Investigations showed that up to 50 growers reported to antibiotic use in a bid to combat PSA.

Treblico said that steps had been taken to ensure that the affected fruit will not end up in the marketplace. Random testing will be carried out and all growers will be asked to declare whether or not they have used antibiotics.

At the same time officials are deciding what steps, if any, will be taken against those who have used the antibiotics.

Dave Tanner from marketer Zespri said there was surprise at news of the practice.

"But you can't make the decisions for every grower out there. They were under an enormous amount of pressure, we had to deal with the aftermath," Tanner said.

At the height of the Psa outbreak, under very strict conditions, growers were allowed to spray a diluted form of the antibiotic streptomycin onto vines before fruit formed.

However, the injection of vines was never permitted for fear that over exposure to antibiotics would lead to humans becoming immune to the effects.

Source: tvnz.co.nz

Publication date: 5/28/2012


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