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The Felice family (Tina, Lou and Paul) from Farmer Lou’s in South Grafton are encouraging their customers to support the strawberry farmers. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Support for our strawberry farmers

Lynne Mowbray |

With the ongoing strawberry contamination issue very much in the news, The Independent contacted some of the local Clarence Valley fruit and vegetable outlets, to get their take on the issue.

Farmer Lou’s Paul Felice (South Grafton) said that it’s a cruel thing to do to a community.

“The farmers and our export will be affected,” Mr Felice said.
“If our product isn’t safe to eat, it jeopardises the local and greater economy of Australia.
“Our strawberries come from the Brisbane markets – they’re Queensland berries.
“We’ve been selling our strawberries for $1 a punnet but now the price of strawberries has collapsed; they’re throwing them away.
“Once the market is depleted of strawberries the price will probably go up.
“They’re safe to eat – you just have to cut your fruit.
“Don’t stop buying them; because that’s what these people are hoping for.
“It’s pathetic and they should throw the book at them,” he said.

SPAR Maclean owner Bob Little said that the strawberry needle contamination is impacting greatly on the strawberry industry.
“We’ve been assured that the strawberries that are coming into our store are safe,” Mr Little said.
“We’re going to continue to stock the strawberries purely on the basis that we have to keep supporting the strawberry industry.
“The chances of this happening to an individual are quite remote, but we just have to get into the habit of cutting them in quarters.
“Don’t ever give them to children without cutting them first.
“We want to continue to support the industry.
“I have been eating strawberries, I haven’t stopped eating strawberries; I’m probably eating more strawberries now than I’ve ever eaten before just on principal, because I believe that they (our strawberry farmers) need that support.
“We have to get behind our strawberry farmers and we have to support them.
“We know the risks and we know how to make sure it doesn’t happen to us, let’s go ahead and do it,” he said.
A spokesperson from Coles said that the company recommenced their supply of strawberries last week.
“We’ve been delighted to see customers buying Coles strawberries and at some stores the demand has been so great we’ve sold out! We’re working hard to get more strawberries in all stores so customers can continue to support Aussie farmers.

We have worked with our suppliers to implement additional control measures to ensure strawberries are inspected before they are sent to supermarkets.

Customers should continue to follow the advice issued by health authorities to cut all strawberries before they consume them.”