The Nationals WA have thrown the party’s support behind West Australian strawberry farmers in their time of need, urging consumers to ‘cut strawberries up, not out’.
Spokesperson for agriculture Colin de Grussa said WA’s strawberry industry had been thrown into disarray following reports of contaminated produce in recent days.
“Local growers have been forced to dump tonnes of perfectly good-to-eat strawberries, costing the industry millions of dollars, due to cancelled orders and falling consumer demand,” Mr de Grussa said.
“The strawberry industry, through no fault of its own, is being punished by the malicious actions of a select few.
“While police and agriculture agencies continue to investigate, we as consumers need to continue to support our local growers.
“Now is the time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with strawberry growers and The Nationals will do exactly that.”
Mr de Grussa said the latest advice from health authorities was that strawberries were still safe to buy and eat but, as a precaution, people should cut them before consuming.
“We know that WA consumers love eating locally grown strawberries,” he said.
“It’s still 100 per cent safe to enjoy WA strawberries every day. So please cut them up, don’t cut them out.”
Mr de Grussa said he was still buying strawberries for his kids’ lunchboxes and he would keep on doing so.
He said the WA industry needed support, not fearmongering.
“For local growers strawberries are their livelihood and their passion,” Mr de Grussa said.
“It would be a tragedy if this harmful sabotage by criminals or copy-cats results in WA families no longer being able to enjoy fresh local produce.
“We need to show the industry we support them as they manage this crisis by continuing to purchase their products and consume them in a safe manner.”
The Federal Government has announced an investigation into the strawberry contamination would be undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Mr de Grussa said anyone who comes across a contaminated strawberry should contact WA Police.