TOP-LEVEL TALKS: Derek Lightfoot from Yeppoon’s Tropical Pines and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry discuss industry concerns with Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in Canberra.
TOP-LEVEL TALKS: Derek Lightfoot from Yeppoon’s Tropical Pines and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry discuss industry concerns with Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in Canberra. Rokpines

Fears fresh 'exploding' pineapples imported to Australia

MICHELLE Landry is backing the local pineapple industry in its push against the proposed importation of Malaysian pineapples.

The Capricornia MP said it was feared that if fresh de-crowned Malaysian pines were allowed into Australia, they would bring in a disease known to make pineapples explode.

She said that could potentially decimate Queensland's industry, which produces $80 million worth of fresh pines a year.

Ms Landry organised a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, which involved Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Queensland pineapple industry executives and chief scientists from Australia's Department of Agriculture.

Derek Lightfoot from Yeppoon-based Tropical Pines and Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan attended the talks. "The meeting allowed the Minister and our pine industry to question Australia's top scientists over the bureaucratic reasons as to why we would even think about bringing in Malaysian pineapples and how great the risk of disease might be to us here," Ms Landry said.

"The Minister listened carefully to the issues and has asked the scientists to do some more homework on the risks and to also look closely into what occurred in Hawaii where the disease was imported there inside foreign pines."

Ms Landry said the Malaysian industry was plagued with the devastating disease Erwinia Chrysanthemi, an internal "rot" known to make pineapples explode.

SLICE OF PINE

Pineapples spread around the world because they were kept on ships to ward off sailors' scurvy.

Although originally from South America, most of the world's pineapples now come from Southeast Asia. Thailand is said to be the biggest producer of pineapples in the region.

One pineapple plant produces only one pineapple every two years.

A pineapple plant can fruit for up to 50 years in the wild.

The word "pineapple" was first used in 1398 in reference to a pine cone.