Aug 15 2014

Monthly Update - August 2014

TomatoesNZ AGM - Remit Result

The remit that “TomatoesNZ pursue signing the GIA Deed including the formation of an Incorporated Society” was carried at the AGM.  During the voting on this remit sales values were collected in addition to recording how many members had voted as a way to demonstrate to MPI how much of the industry had been represented during this decision making process.   


Aussie Irradiated Tomatoes

With the conference being soon after the first consignment of Aussie irradiated tomatoes arrived the one topic put forward as general business at the AGM was the importation of Australian irradiated tomatoes.  TNZ members have a high level of understanding of the requirement for Australian tomatoes to be labelled as irradiated so much of the discussion on this topic was around who was responsible for ensuring the requirements for labelling were communicated to those that needed to label.

As a way of ensuring retailers are aware of the labelling obligations TNZ have put together retailer packs with a note detailing the requirement to label irradiated tomatoes, an MPI leaflet with information for food businesses regarding labelling requirements and a sign clearly stating ‘irradiated’ for retailers to use.   These have been distributed via the wholesalers.  In addition a new website has been linked to our TNZ website with labelling information for consumers, food retailers and the food industry.

If you believe a retailer is selling unlabelled irradiated produce, you can register your complaint on the Ministry for Primary Industries phone hotline on 0800 693721 or email


Vapormate as an alternative to Methyl Bromide

Methyl Bromide (MeBr) is currently the only accepted means of fumigation to control Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) that meets the phytosanitary requirements of countries importing NZ tomatoes.  As MeBr is being phased out internationally and can have detrimental effects on quality, research is being carried out on an alternative fumigant named Vapormate (Ethyl formate) to determine whether it is effective against TPP.

Initial laboratory trials showed that Vapormate was effective in killing 100% of TPP adults, nymphs and eggs at concentrations that did not affect tomato quality.  In moving these trials to an onsite/packhouse situation the mortality rate of adults and nymphs remained the same but the mortality rate for eggs dropped significantly.

In order for Vapormate to be accepted by importing countries as an effective treatment it must be demonstrated that eggs will be killed as consistently as adults and nymphs.  With a view to determining whether this is possible without impacting on quality,  additional onsite trails will be conducted using lower treatment rates for a longer period of time.

If you would like further information on Vapormate a product safety data sheet can be found at, then search Vapormate.


Visiting IPM Specialist

Thoughts for the future

We were fortunate to have Rob Jacobson, an IPM specialist from the UK present at our TNZ conference this year.  One of his visits after the conference was with Plant and Food Research.   Although not specific IPM controls or techniques the following are some key points he discussed with Plant and Food Research to consider with regard to IPM research and implementation going forward.

  • The individual components of an Integrated Pest Management programme can be fairly simple to implement, the challenge is to bring all of the components together to provide effective control for a range of pests and pathogens.
  • With commercial products based on entomopathogens (fungus that can act as an insect parasite) it is important to understand that variations in the colony forming units can mean the product does not always work as effectively as it could.
  • Test pesticide resistance, especially for whitefly given the difficulty growers are having in managing this pest with insecticides.
  • Broad spectrum chemicals that are not persistent and, when used in a targeted way, can have a place in an IPM system.
  • Semiochemicals (a chemical emitted by a plant or animal that evokes a response in another organism eg: pheremones) should be considered as a key component of IPM strategies in the future.
  • Provision of alternative food sources for biological control agents is important e.g. culture packs are breathable paper bags that maintain humidity and contain a food source for predatory mites.
  • Adding value from biocontrol, e.g. in the UK where growers have introduced the Diglyphus parasite to manage leafminers, there are often a lot of parasitized leafminer larvae that can be lost when the leaves are removed.  Rather than discarding the leaves, they can be contained in such a way that the parasites can hatch and disperse into the covered crop for ‘reuse’.

If you would like to look at Rob Jacobson’s presentations from the conference they can be found on the TomatoesNZ website under the Industry then Conference tabs.

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