Green and good … growers say there’s no shortage of produce. Photo: Dallas Kilponen THERE is no significant shortage of fruit and vegetables after the Queensland floods and it is unlikely grocers will need to import produce, says the chief executive of the NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries.
Colin Gray, who also serves as a director at the Sydney Markets, urged shoppers to ignore reports about drastic shortages and huge price rises.
”The last thing we need is to import products and the pests and diseases that can come with them,” he said.
Coles and Woolworths have relaxed their quality classifications to allow flood-damaged crops on their shelves, but long-term shortages may force them to look overseas, they said.
”We certainly don’t want to have to import produce and we would only do it if we had absolutely no choice,” a Coles spokesman, Jim Cooper, said.
Coles has signs in its stores asking for understanding if the produce has ”more markings than usual”.
”Our customers expect the highest quality fruit and vegetables but they also understand that, when things happen that are beyond the growers’ control, it is only reasonable to support them,” he said.
Coles assured the eating quality of the damaged produce was not compromised and any differences were purely cosmetic.
Stewart Finlayson, who is visiting Sydney from Armidale, saw no sign of the so-called ”ugly fruit” at Coles in the CBD.
”It doesn’t make a difference to me anyway,” Mr Finlayson said. ”I had some hail-affected cherries a few weeks ago and they tasted terrific.”
Mr Gray said there was far too much emphasis on the look of the fruit: ”I don’t know what ugly fruit is.” The main point, he said, is to shop intelligently. ”If a certain product is particularly expensive, just substitute it with something else.”
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