Editorial: All we want is swift govt action

By Andrew Austin

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Health scares involving food are always a concern.

Whenever there is a possibility that food is contaminated in some way, one realises just how reliant we are on proper hygienic systems being in place when food is packed and prepared.

Most of us have had a brush with some level of food poisoning in our lives and even minor illness from contaminated food is not very pleasant.

It is for this reason that some people would have been a bit concerned to hear the news yesterday morning that apples and peaches on sale across the country could have been contaminated with Hepatitis A. The fact that it stemmed from a worker at a Hawke's Bay packhouse handling fruit over a four-day period while infected with the virus made it worse.

However, these fears would have faded once the Ministry of Primary Industries showed that they had moved quickly to contain the problem and reassured the public at large that the risk of becoming ill was "relatively low".

The ministry said some of the potentially affected fruit, sold between February 27 and March 13, had been traced and withdrawn from sale.

It is estimated about 1400 cartons had been sold across the country.

I must admit that on hearing the news yesterday morning, I promptly binned the golden peaches in our kitchen, but as the day wore on any apprehension I had disappeared.

It is better to be safe than sorry, but these things are going to happen and it is the way that they are dealt with that matters.

It is pleasing that the Ministry for Primary Industries moved quickly and decisively in this matter and gives us confidence that government checks and controls on our food are robust and thorough.

We accept that unfortunately these scares happen, all we want is the government agencies responsible to act swiftly to protect us.

In this case, we seem to have got it.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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