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Antibiotic trial kiwifruit nowhere near foodchain, Seeka says

Friday 22nd June 2012

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Fruit grower and coolstore and packhouse operator Seeka Kiwifruit Industries has reassured the market that no antibiotic tainted fruit entered the market.

In a trial update release on the pan-industry fight against the vine bacterial disease Pseudomona Syringae pv actinidiae, Seeka said it has been involved in approved trials testing the use of antibiotics as a defence.

The trials used streptomycin and oxytectracyclin and “were carried out under strict control processes following careful planning,” said Seeka chief executive Michael Franks, following recent media reports about antibiotic use in the kiwifruit industry.

There was never any intention to harvest fruit for consumption, all fruit was destroyed, he said.

One trial that commenced without the orchard specific approval by the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines had been brought to ACVM’s attention by Seeka, Franks said.

Findings from these Seeka trials have been presented to the industry at its recent technical forums in the scientific advance for a cure for Psa-V.

Franks said regular monitoring across the industry is key to ensuring no antibiotic residue on any fruit.

Seeka's shares were unchanged at $1.76 today, and have surged 79 percent this year.

New Zealand's kiwifruit industry came under pressure after the Psa-V bacteria was discovered in 2010, infecting more than 40 percent of the nation's kiwifruit hectares.

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