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Zespri gets all-clear to resend kiwifruit

NZN 28/04/2016 Paul McBeth

Zespri International will re-pack and release the 1.7 million trays of kiwifruit it placed on hold this month, saying they pose no danger to consumers.

The Tauranga-based fruit marketer sought advice from a number of local and foreign agencies on the make-up of mechanical lubricant found on a number of kiwifruit pocket packs and has been assured there was no risk to consumer health, it said in a statement. The lubricant was found on just 0.01 per cent of the packs on hold, and Zespri will now unpack, check and re-pack all the potentially affected packaging to ensure no trace of grease gets into the market. Once that's done, Zespri will lift the hold on the trays.

"Having confirmed there is no risk to human health, we now want to focus on ensuring all our fruit is delivered in top condition," chief operating officer Simon Limmer said. "We are taking this extra step to reassure our customers and consumers that this fruit is the same premium quality as all Zespri kiwifruit."

Of the fruit held back from customers, one million were in New Zealand and 750,000 were on board ships bound for Japan and Taiwan.

Pocket packs represent around a third of the packaging used and Zespri can source them from other manufacturers in Chile and New Zealand.

The amount of fruit affected represents around 1 per cent of its total forecast volume of 140 million trays for the 2016 season.

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