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Precautionary on 1.7 million trays

Zespri puts hold on kiwi exports

Zespri has put a precautionary hold on some kiwifruit which is potentially affected by a packaging issue, while it investigates further. The fruit is still within Zespri’s distribution system so none is available to the public. 

Small deposits of mechanical lubricant have been found on a very small number of kiwifruit pocket packs (which hold the fruit in place in the single-layer or IT trays) – the lubricant has only been identified on less than 0.01 percent of pocket packs at this stage.

According to a source at Zespri it will mean a bit moving fruit around and a slower start to the export season as it is a sizeable volume. But it was stressed that none of this product has been sent to customers or consumers and this is a precautionary measure. 

Zespri is ensuring no product in potentially affected packaging reaches the marketplace and has suspended the supply and use of pocket packs from the single affected manufacturing plant. Zespri sources pocket packs from a range of suppliers which manufacture in Chile, China and NZ. We understand the lubricant deposits are due to a small leak from a grease line in a supplier’s Chinese manufacturing plant. 

Zespri has commissioned testing to confirm the exact composition of the lubricant. Once Zespri receives these results, it will make further decisions on how to manage this inventory with consumer safety as the top priority. 

The precautionary hold has been placed on approximately 1.7 million trays of product and all of this product is in Zespri’s control. To put this in perspective, the 2016 season has just started and this represents around one percent of our total forecast volume for 2016. 

Zespri is working with its suppliers to ensure sufficient supply of packaging materials for the 2016 season and is confident of securing this supply. While there may be some delay to customer deliveries in some markets, Zespri does not anticipate these actions having a material impact on the 2016 season. 

This decision was made in line with Zespri’s long-standing commitment to provide customers with healthy and safe-to-eat kiwifruit.