Stupid is as Stupid does


Some people really are blessed with an abundance of stupidity…take this Kiwifruit farmer in Te Puke who didn’t want to risk losing his vines and so set about performing an illegal act which resulted in him suffering a much worse fate:

A ONE News investigation has revealed as many as 50 kiwifruit growers have illegally injected their vines with antibiotics, in a desperate attempt to combat the vine killing bacteria.

Te Puke grower and industry leader Michael Montgomery admitted to ONE News he injected 17 hectares of kiwifruit vines in a bid to save his plants from PSA.

As a result Montgomery, who did not want to be interviewed, has been banned from selling tonnes of kiwifruit.

He told ONE News he accepts the practice is illegal.

PSA has been spreading through the Te Puke region killing vines, and at last count costing the industry nearly $900 million.

Antibiotics can be administered to plants in two different ways, one by pushing capsules into drill-holes in the trunk, the other by injecting the plant.

Montgomery is not alone, ONE News was told as many as 50 growers have broken the rules.

So his vines are safe but he can;t use them, his product is banned and worse he has put at risk the whole industry because of his stupidity:

Injecting vines was never allowed due to fears that antibiotics in the food chain will eventually cause humans to form immunity to the medicines.

By law any fruit that has been contaminated by antibiotics cannot be sold in New Zealand, and it definitely cannot be exported.

Intent on protecting the export market, Zespri has resorted to testing all orchards before taking the fruit.

The man is a fuckwit…and so are his mates. Wuite how this has helped him is beyond me. The vines may as well be destroyed now.


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  • Honey

    Be interesting to know what’s in some honey too. There’s some real snake oil merchant’s in that industry.

  • hitchy

    He is certainly risking nz’s reputation by attempting to sell the contaminated fruit. However you may find that the antibiotics in the plant protect it from PSA, so his vines survive for next season. Of course he shouldn’t be selling fruit within any withholding period, and by next harvest they may be clear of antibiotics.

    • Johnbronkhorst

      All well and good, provided the customers (mostly overseas and as the rest of us mostly ignorant of the effects of antibiotics) don’t stop buying from NZ next season due to the reputation. Also what about flow on to other primary industries. Customers could ask….Well, if they do it in kiwifruit, what about apples, pears, plums, LAMB, BEEF, milk etc etc etc.

      • hitchy

        Antibiotics are commonly used in animals, but there are strict reg’s around their use, including recording, and with holding periods while the medicine works it’s way out of the animals system, all very normal. BTW the fines are MASSIVE if you send product that is contaminated, $100,000k for sending a bobby calf to macdonalds with antibiotics in it just one example. I’m just saying he may have saved his vines for next year, but shouldn’t be sending fruit.

  • I was uncertain from the TV report whether it was illegal to use antibiotics on the vines if they were not going to be harvested; if he eliminates PSA and in two years is able to have antibiotic free fruit, will he be in breach of the law?

    • TravisPoulson

      A good question Grant. One would think it should be possible, it is for dairy cows. When a cow is infected with mastitis, or treated for any other health problem with penicillin the cow can be milked back into the silo/vat once she has exceeded the withholding period, which can vary depending on the strength of the drug. I’d imagine that after the final treatment the antibiotics would dissipate rather quickly, and it’s easy enough to test for.

  • Phronesis

    Plants are not like humans (with obvious exceptions) and will not develop resistance to PSA after surviving the infection with the help of antibiotics. Unless the PSA can be completely irradicated from the environment (unlikely) then all these plants will need replaced with resistant strains. The health concern is not that humans will become resistant to antibiotics but that the pathogens that infect us will as a result of low level exposure.

  • rolla

    Most of the industry doesn’t even want the use of streptomycin (the antibiotic used), it was just the pressure of a vocal minority who got it okayed under very limited circumstances, and even then the bee keepers were hugely up in arms, as any residue in their honey, and there goes their exports to europe.

    The growers that undertook this illegal use of Key Strepto, risked the whole industry, and many others as well (honey, and dairy), as the EU will and has before used scandals like this to ban imports of NZ kiwifruit. Thats why the industry had to implement the KiwiGreen program back in the 90’s, after the EU found high levels of pesticide residue in imported NZ kiwifruit, the Kiwigreen program limits when and under what conditions sprays and pesticides can be used.

    Really Zesprri should revoke the supply agreements, and any licences these growers have for Zespri varieties, as a lesson to other growers, as well as charging these growers for the full cost of testing all fruit in the industry. Any grower found to have Key Strepto residue, or other anitbiotics/non authorised products (as there are industry rumors about what some are doing), and who hasn’t filled out the declaration correctly should be taken to court by MPI, and banned from the industry for life by Zespri.
    Nothing less will show our trade partners how seriously NZ takes breaches of food regulations.

    • napalm in the morning

      As I understand it one of these guys was an ex director of Zespri, so thats not going to happen(ban from the industry) , we keep on pushing for less legislation and we keep on proving we are all to quick to take a short cut or break the rules when the pressure comes on, will be interesting to see what happens if they privatise the meat inspectors and see what meat company screws up first.

      • Zip

        Yep I’m a kiwifruit grower. I didnt want the use of this spray allowed because of fwits who only
        Think of themselves. Mr Montgomerie is a tosser. That’s all we need this kind of news in the markets. Fruit should of been pulled off an dumped on the ground.

      • rolla

         I thought there have been some private meat inspectors for awhile now, I’m sure when I worked for Silver Fern Farms back when I was at uni, they had their own inspectors who were able to certify the meat.

        Kiwifruit is already largley self regulating for export with the fruit checked for quality and pests by the packhouses. There hasn’t been too many problems that I’m aware of with that system. And I’m pretty sure that thats what the rest of the hort industry does too, and its all checked by MAF every now and then.

        Zespri would be dumb to not make an example of this guy, even if he was an ex zespri director, otherwise next season you’ll just have more people doing it, and not report it. Besides, Montgomerie is only one out of the 50 growers who have done it, all 50 should be dealt with the same.

        What is it with Zespri directors breaking the rules, there was that guy a month or so back whos brother in law had planted a large number of hectares of G3 withouth the licences, and the director knew of it. I actually thought back then, that it was going to come out then that he was guilty of, or knew of people using keystrepto when they shouldnt.

  • Just Curious

    I am a bit ignorant of how this all works but if the male plants have been injected bt, they dont bear fruit, how are the antibiotics getting into the female plants?

    • rolla

       The males pollinate the females, so its the pollen from the males that will be contaminated, and given that it sounds like they were injecting while flowering was occuring, that where the risk is.