Irradiation export solution for cherry growers

Growers of fresh produce, including table grapes, mangoes and cherries, are able to treat their product for airfreight within hours at a Brisbane facility, owned and operated by Steritech. “We’ve had great feedback from the presentation Steritech gave at the launch of the Australian cherry season,” says the company’s Qld General Manager Glenn Robertson. Cherry growers have not had the level of market impact they were seeking this year according to recent reports, but determined growers demonstrate their readiness to export, and commitment to a future in exports by continuing to obtain permits.
“Cherry growers in particular have been well organized and direct in dealing with the Department of Agriculture, they narrowed down the export treatment options to irradiation and presented a united front,” says Mr Robertson.
The method involves loading pallets of fresh product onto conveyor belts at the Brisbane facility, where it passes through an irradiation chamber and spends about 45 minutes being treated by gamma irradiation, in order to eliminate any lingering pests or their larvae.
Irradiation is currently an approved treatment for selected commodities, in order to gain market access into New Zealand, USA, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Growers are interested in the chemical-free phytosanitary technique offered by Steritech, as an alternative to existing methods, according to Mr Robertson.
For growers of produce with a limited shelf life once picked, irradiation is the ideal solution, because the waiting time is cut down by as much as sixteen days before the fruit is safe to be shipped and can be sold on shelves overseas. There is also more research that has been done which concludes that irradiation is safe and effective, and does not cause the food to lose its nutrients, Mr Robertson adds. “Certainly people’s thoughts around irradiation have changed in the last few years. There is a lot of in-depth and approved scientific work to back up the technology, and the Department of Agriculture itself is pro the technique.”
The irradiation technique used by Steritech is said to be 99% effective against a full range of pests including all fruit fly, according to Mr Robertson.
For more information

Glenn Robertson, Qld General Manager
Steritech Pty Ltd
Phone: 07 3293 1566

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