Buyers urged to forgive flood blemishes on fruit

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 25th January 2011

Politicians and growers are urging consumers to support Australia’s fruit and vegetable growers by buying local flood-affected produce, rather than unblemished imported fruit and veg.
Chief Executive Officer of peak horticulture organisation Growcom, Alex Livingstone, said that where produce had only been dinted or blemished on the skin but was otherwise unaffected, consumers should buy it.

“The abundance of relatively cheap food we have enjoyed in the past has made us complacent about the resources dedicated to its supply. We have been conditioned to buy only perfect fruit and vegetables for many years but with the major damage to horticulture caused by floods across several states it is time for consumers to get behind the industry to ensure its survival,” said Mr Livingstone.

“Consumers may for the first time be seeing empty shelves or a lack of their favourite fruit and vegetable item which may tempt them to buy imported alternatives.

“Instead they should pause to think about the fresh food supply chain and the effort and resources which are spent in getting fresh food from the farm into the supermarket or green grocer.

“We are genuinely lucky in Australia to usually have everything we need in such profusion and abundance. This is particularly the case for fruit and vegetables because of the fact that Australia has a number of horticultural regions spread across geographic locations so that where one region suffers a natural disaster other regions generally can supply the produce required.

“However, with so many horticultural regions in different states now affected by floods it is time for people to get behind the local horticulture industry to ensure its survival,” he said.

Livingstone said that of course he was not advocating the shelving of food safety or quality standards in the horticulture industry.

“The horticulture industry has a proud reputation of clean and green produce which has made it welcome not only on the domestic market but in a number of major export markets overseas.”