Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has urged consumers to buy local to ensure their safety in the wake of this month’s imported berry scare.
"I am so concerned that our supermarket shelves are full of products coming from countries that are not subject to the same standards that we impose on our own growers and processers," Ms Sheed said.
"Even with some increased testing by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand consumers are still at risk.
"At this point in time consumers can only have confidence in buying clean, green, local produce."
Ms Sheed’s comments come after the federal Health Department yesterday confirmed 18 Australians have now been diagnosed with hepatitis A, which has been linked to eating contaminated frozen berries imported from China.
The Federal Department of Agriculture has placed a holding order on frozen berries from the two Chinese factories linked to the hepatitis A outbreak but the holding order does not apply to other Chinese frozen berries, or to frozen berries from any other country.
"This is a serious and widening outbreak, how can we be sure that other Chinese frozen fruit and vegetables are safe?" she said.
"We can’t. The only way to guarantee your families wellbeing is to buy local."
The hepatitis A outbreak comes after heavy metal contamination was found in Chinese canned peaches tested late last year.
Ms Sheed used her first question in State Parliament today to highlight the issue and urge the Andrews Labor Government to buy locally grown and manufactured food in all government food procurement.
"It is essential the State Government supports Victorian growers and manufacturers, and I implore them to buy local, especially given the high levels of uncertainty surrounding the safety of some imported food products."
24 February 2015