Australian irradiated fruit found unmarked in stores

By Mathew Dearnaley

Irradiated Australian mangoes have reappeared in Auckland fruit shops but this time without stickers telling shoppers the fruit has been zapped.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth complained late yesterday to the Food Safety Authority about what it says is the first clear breach to its knowledge of the labelling requirement.

Friends of the Earth co-director Bob Tait said the only irradiation label the group could find at any of three shops it discovered selling the mangoes was on an empty packing tray left discarded in an alley.

Under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, irradiated foods must be clearly labelled with stickers or signs showing they have undergone this treatment.

Food Safety Authority officials were not available for comment yesterday.

The three shops surveyed by Friends of the Earth were all of the Freshworld chain. Management did not return calls.

Turners and Growers spokesman Alistair Petrie confirmed that his company imported two "small" shipments of irradiated mangoes last month, which it sold to several retailers.

Mr Petrie said the shipments came in appropriately labelled boxes and were cleared by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry quarantine officials.

He said a lot of the fruit itself carried stickers but his company could not be held responsible if any were pulled off before shoppers found them.

Mr Petrie said the company was only a minor importer of irradiated mangoes compared with suppliers such as Fusion Marketing in Pukekohe, which yesterday complained to the Herald at the lack of stickers on rival produce.

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