BANANA growers have reminded the public that bananas are still good to eat despite the detection of another suspected outbreak of Panama disease on a Tully farm this week.
The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) assured consumers Australia’s number one grocery item will remain unaffected by the latest on-farm disease detection.
Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) yesterday announced a suspect Panama disease tropical race 4 detection on a Tully farm.
While it will be four to six weeks until definitive test results are known, there will be no impact whatsoever on fruit sold to consumers, whether the result is confirmed as positive or not.
There is also no expectation that supply will be challenged.
ABGC chair, Stephen Lowe, said the pathogen impacted the banana tree/plant, not the fruit.
“What the pathogen does, is it enters the plant’s root system and restricts its uptake of water, stopping it from producing harvestable bunches and eventually killing it," Mr Lowe said.
"So the impact on-farm is the ability to grow that banana plant.
“As an industry it is the farm that is impacted by Panama TR4, and it very much becomes an issue of management.
“Our consumers will still receive a healthy, delicious and nutritious product and will not be affected.
“Bananas should very much remain first stop in the fruit shop."
Just last month during the release of the Queensland budget, Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne committed $2.77 million for continued control and containment measures against Panama disease in 2017/18.
“Left unchallenged there is no doubt that Panama could destroy the $600 million banana industry in Queensland," Mr Byrne said at the time.
“When it was first identified in March 2015, the Palaszczuk Government acted quickly and decisively and worked closely with plantation owners, local councils and industry stakeholders on a strategy that has, to this time, proved effective."
The first Tully property affected with Panama disease was purchased under an industry levy with additional Commonwealth funding by the ABGC.
The sale of the property was settled in October 2016; the ABGC took ownership of the affected property and immediately ceased all farming operations.