Federated Farmers has joined HortNZ and the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry in an appeal to purchasers of “Buzzy” branded Strawberry Mini Grow Kits sold by The Warehouse to return them urgently.
Unused kits should be returned for a refund while any resulting seed or plant material should be securely disposed of in household rubbish as they present a biosecurity risk.
“1,362 “Buzzy” branded Strawberry Mini Grow Kits remain unaccounted for. It’s vital those in possession of these kits know how to return or safely dispose of them,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and its Biosecurity spokesperson.
“The release of these kits in New Zealand is a serious biosecurity breach that could put livelihoods at risk. We need consumers, newspapers, radio and television to spread some important messages.
“What consumers need to look for is a strawberry seed kit with the “Buzzy” brand. These were sold through The Warehouse between 1 September and 12 November and contain imported strawberry seeds, a clay pot and compressed potting mix.
“If anyone has an unused kit, maybe intended as a gift, we’re asking them to please take it back to The Warehouse. They will apparently get a full $3.99 refund so will not be out of pocket.
“If anyone has used the kit, we’re asking them to pull any seeds or germinated plants from the garden with some of the surrounding soil. This should be placed it into a sealed plastic bag along with any container and potting mix from the kit. This should then be put into a second plastic bag, sealed and put out with your normal household rubbish.
“Whatever people do, it’s vital they do not compost or try to use this material as green waste. The safest thing to reduce the risk of a biosecurity incursion is to bury it in landfill.
“While we genuinely appreciate the importer, Tui Products Limited, linking MAF’s bulletin from its website as well as a notice on its Facebook page, not to mention prominent advertising over the weekend with The Warehouse, more is needed.
“Tui Products needs a more graphical notice on its homepage and The Warehouse needs to do the same on its gardening page as well as on social media. We all need to spread the word widely and quickly.
“In the meantime, it is essential MAF start testing these imported items for any diseases they consider could have hitched a ride from China and which may pose a credible risk.
“Biosecurity underpins half of all export receipts New Zealand earns from trade and services. We genuinely need all Kiwis on the biosecurity First XV to keep it that way,” Dr Rolleston concluded.