News

'Ghost diseased' pineapples inquiry report delayed

Pineapples on the assembly line at Tropical Pineapples at Yeppoon.
Pineapples on the assembly line at Tropical Pineapples at Yeppoon. Trish Bowman

THE results of the senate inquiry into the import of Malaysian pineapples were due to be handed down today, but the announcement has been postponed until March 20.

The pineapple industry is fighting against the import of Malaysian pineapples as they may bring in a bacteria, Dickeya sp.

The bacteria is resident in Malaysia and causes the pineapples to rot inside, sometimes exploding, giving way to the nickname 'Ghost Disease' from farmers hearing the infected fruit explode during the night.

A spokeswoman from Senator Ron Boswell's office says they delayed the results announcement as an expert in risk assessment matrices had to be called upon, and their report wasn't finalised in time.

Tropical Pineapples managing director Derek Lightfoot called into question the risk assessment matrix used by Biosecurity Australia, suggesting bias towards an outcome of low, very low or negligible - only nine of the 36 possible outcomes are above low risk.

However, a departmental spokesperson denied claims of bias in the matrix, saying it has been in use since 2001.

The method we used to assess risk is consistent with the World Trade Organisation's conservative standards," they say.

"We have applied this same approach dealing with pineapples imported from other countries including the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands."

They say quarantine measures would ensure the bacteria didn't enter Australia.

"The risk analysis for pineapples from Malaysia considered a number of pests and recommended a range of quarantine control measures to manage them to a very low level of risk of entry and establishment and spread," they say.

Mr Lightfoot says the disease has the potential to cripple the industry.

"In its latent form you can't detect it when it enters the country," Mr Lightfoot says.

"... and if it gets spread within Australia we can't eradicate it."

Tropical Pines agronomist Col Scott says the bacteria caused crop losses of up to 40% in Malaysia and 60% in small areas in Hawaii.

He says warnings from scientists and agronomists in affected countries have gone unnoticed.

"Their advice to me was don't touch it," Mr Scott said.

"That advice, I've passed it onto DAFF Biosecurity from two different sources one in Hawaii and one in Malaysia.

"They said it would be grossly irresponsible if Australia allowed the fruit in."

Topics:  andrew cripps, malaysian pineapples, pineapple, senate inquiry



Monster trucks a smash hit with Rocky

Scooby Doo impresses crowds at Monster Trucks.

Check out the action and social photos here

What's flowering in Central Queensland?

Schotia brachypetala

One is a creeper called Petrea volubilis

Compulsory Third Party Insurer Obligations

Narelle Clark is a Senior Solicitor at local law firm Rees R & Sydney Jones.

A CTP Insurer is legally obliged to cover you

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Projects hoped to revive Rockhampton real estate

There have been just over 800 house sales in Rockhampton this year

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

14% of renovators doing own electrical work?

Landscaping (46%), demolition (43%) and interior design (77%) are also often tackled head on by plucky homeowners.

And 12% said they did their own plumbing work

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.