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ESR reports no help to gastro bug investigation

Horticulture New Zealand is not surprised the ESR reports released today into the recent outbreak of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis do little to further the discovery of the source of the illness. 

HortNZ is continuing to assist the Ministry for Primary Industries with its investigation into the outbreak of Yersinia pTb which has been linked to severe gastro/stomach problems. 

MPI (the agency responsible for food safety) has not yet confirmed what is causing the problem.

HortNZ believes early speculation about the cause of the outbreak by the Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, which solely implicated lettuce and carrots without confirmation from MPI, was unhelpful and alarmist. 

Only one outbreak of Yersinia pTb either in New Zealand or overseas has ever been definitively traced back to fresh produce – in Finland in 1984. The vast majority of previous cases have been linked to contact with animals.

“Now that the outbreak is over, it is becoming even more obvious the source may never be identified,” HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock says.

“The horticulture industry takes this sort of issue very seriously. 

“We can’t afford to have unreliable and uninformed commentators take pot-shots at our industry practices, because we know we are producing food to the very highest standards,” Peter says.

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