Filipino bananas fly in on Qantas

FILIPINO bananas served on Qantas flights have provoked fury and dismay on the Coffs Coast.

Following media reports that bananas from the Philippines were served on a flight from Auckland to Sydney, Qantas said the fruit was loaded on board by their New Zealand caterer.

A spokesman for the airline said all Qantas domestic services and international services from Australia carried Australian bananas.

“All products that come into Australia on Qantas flights are treated as quarantine waste,” the spokesman said.

“All food waste from all international and Tasman flights is disposed of as per quarantine waste regulations, as outlined by the Quarantine Act 1908.”

Federal MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said he was astounded by the report and dismayed Australia's national carrier was the airline involved.

“Given the risk of Filipino bananas to Australia's industry, I cannot believe they are permitted to be used on any international flight which is bound for Australia,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Qantas is quintessentially Australian and they spend millions of dollars associating themselves with everything that is part of four nation's character. Many travellers choose to fly Qantas because they are Australian owned.”

Mr Hartsuyker said he had written to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce about the matter. Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga Banana Growers Association president Ron Gray said there was little local growers could do about it, but the bananas should not be allowed on the flights as there was no quarantine on bananas going into New Zealand.

“There is plenty of other fruit they can provide, rather than Ecuadorian and Filipino bananas,” he said.

The Woolgoolga grower said he had received a newsletter to say articles in Filipino newspapers were accusing the Australian government import restrictions of being too harsh.

He said this was an attempt to blackmail the Australian government into relaxing the restrictions.

West Korora grower and Australian Banana Growers Council president, Nicky Singh also criticised the airline.

“Basically we don't support it,” he said.

“They should have to discard (the bananas) in the quarantine bin, but they still represent a risk.”

Mr Singh said the ABCG imports committee chairman had spoken about it and he would now talk to the council's CEO about other protest channels.

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