Don't come the raw prawn

By LUKE KEIOSKIE

LOCAL farmers are warning Australia's food regulator not to 'come the raw prawn' over plans to allow the importation of prawns that contain antibiotics.

Curly Prawns owner manager, Nick Pottage, from Repton said such a move would be unfair on local farmers.

"If prawns with antibiotics are imported, that allows them to double stock what local producers can," Mr Pottage said.

"I don't use any preserving agents on my green prawns I dip them in ice water and salt, and while that's more work, at least my customers knows the quality is reliable."

Australia imports around 30,000 tonnes of prawns each year and until now Food Standards Australia New Zealand has insisted the prawns must contain no trace of antibiotics.

But food importers want the maximum residue limit so prawns may contain up to 0.2 milligrams per kilo of prawns of the antibiotic oxytetracycline, claiming residues are already permitted in imported and local fish.

But Mr Pottage said consumers will make the right choice.

"Everyone wants to eat healthier these days and people will taste the difference and make the right decision once they realise antibiotics are in imported prawns," he said.

Coffs Harbour Fisherman's Co-op seafood manager, Shane Geary, said it's important to look after the local economy of wild caught prawns.

"The consumer needs to know what they're eating, and with wild caught prawns they do," Mr Geary said.

Mr Pottage said prawn prices are likely to rise next week to as high as $35/kg, and to combat the increase he is freezing his prices at $20/kg.

"Locals have been good to me so I'm giving something back," he said.



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