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Hundreds of tonnes of pineapples left to rot in Australia

Newshub logoNewshub 12/1/2018 Gemma Coombe

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Mountains of pineapples have been dumped in paddocks across Queensland, not because they're bad, but because there's just too many of them.

A major cannery has been unable to take and process the fruit, and blames a shortage of trained staff.

Hundreds of tonnes of pineapples have been left to rot in the hot summer sun.

Pineapple farmer Christopher Berra told Newshub: "It's a lot of time and money and effort, and in the end, to see it like this, it's heartbreaking." 

Farmers in far north Queensland have been forced to dump the fruits of their labour, because of an oversupply, thanks a bumper growing season.

"All that fruit is going to waste, it's very difficult to point a finger at exactly who's at fault." said Australian Pineapples chairman Stephen Pace.

But some are pointing the finger at food processor Golden Circle.

Growers asked the company to keep its cannery open to process the extra fruit, instead of going ahead with a planned shutdown, but it refused.

"There needed to be more communication, then maybe we could have done something," Mr Pace says.

Pineapple form manager Robert Richardson told Newshub: "They're not really Golden Circle, as you knew it, anymore... they're Kraft Heinz, a large American corporation." 

The company has hit back, saying it's a huge supporter of Aussie pineapple growers. It says it wasn't able to take the oversupply of fruit, because trained staff were not available to work in the cannery at short notice."

A photo of the waste, posted on social media, has been shared thousands of times.

Mr Richardson says the reaction online has been a big help. 

"It's heartening to the farmers to read through comments of support."

But he also says comments aren't enough and consumers are urged to do their bit to help.

Mr Berra thinks the solution is simple: "You hate to sound like a whinging farmer, but we just need people to eat more pineapples really." 

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