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Tomatoes dumped because of fruit fly controls

A Tasmanian tomato producer has had to dump more than a tonne of produce as north-west growers deal with biosecurity controls around fruit fly.

Marcus Brandsema's Turners Beach business is just inside a 15 kilometre control zone.  The zone was set up around Spreyton where fruit fly larvae and then an adult fly were detected.

Growers within the zone have to abide by strict biosecurity measures to protect the state's fruit-fly free status.  Mr Brandsema said 90 per cent of his crop usually stayed within the state, but he was now investigating Melbourne markets. "We are quite anxious to determine what we are going to do moving forward".

Under the controls, growers have to fumigate with methyl bromide or keep produce in cold storage at 3 degrees Celsius for 15-16 days.  Cold storage is not an option because tomatoes will over-ripen within that time.

"A lot of product was destined to go out on Friday or Saturday, which we couldn't send out, which means that it is currently in the cool room," Mr Brandsema said.  "But that means everyday it ripens further, if we can only send to Melbourne that is another two or three days on the way so that will be too overripe but the time it gets there. So we have no option at the moment but to dump it." 

(From ABC News - 6 February 2018)