16 May 2012

Greens see link between irradiation request and fruit fly find

9:41 am on 16 May 2012

The Green Party says there has been another negative spin-off from the discovery of the fruit fly in Auckland.

Primary industries spokesperson Steffan Browning says Australia has applied to use irradiation as a phytosanitary control on its tomato and capsicum exports to New Zealand.

Mr Browning says irradiation strips produce of its nutrients and only exotic imports such as lychees, persimmons and papayas currently go through that process.

He says Queensland authorities made the application to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Authority in April.

However, he sees a link between the fruit fly discovery last week and a recent announcement by the authority.

Mr Browning says he would hate to see the fruit fly find as a justification for irradiation when slack biosecurity measures at our borders are the real issue and believes other phytosanitary methods should be used or imports should be stopped.

New Zealand's food safety minister will be asked to sign off on the application in the next few months, he says.