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Recent gastro outbreak

NZ: Hawke's Bay food safe to eat say growers

Last week, the Havelock North water supply was contaminated with campylobacter, leading to more than 2000 people coming down with violent vomiting and diarrhoea.

Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga says terms of reference for an inquiry are currently being developed to find out how the contamination happened and who, if anyone, is responsible.

Local produce - safe to eat?
Growers are desperate to reassure the public it's safe to eat fruit and vegetables from Hawke's Bay, despite the region's contaminated water supply.

Horticulture NZ, which represents the produce industry, says it's definitely not in the region's food supply.

"You need to have a fruit cut open… and for contaminated water to touch the cut-open bit of fruit for there to be a problem," says chief executive Mike Chapman.

"It's a long, long, long stretch for anything to be of concern to the public."

However, many growers in the region are holding off on picking their crops as a precaution.

"Even if [they were], there are no risks because of the food safety systems we have," says Mr Chapman.

Those that are picking are struggling with low staffing levels.

"The remaining staff just have to step up and fill in the gap," says Hamish Davis from apple exporter Fern Ridge Produce.

"But it's just a bit of an annoyance and something that should have been avoidable."


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