Ray Sharp - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

30 May 2012

Ray Sharp - Asshole of the Week

On monday, the NZ Herald reported:

University of Canterbury toxicology professor Ian Shaw told APNZ the news had the potential to do "huge" damage to the industry's reputation.

"If we now taint our export markets with the potential for illegal chemicals being in kiwifruit we could destroy the industry altogether. I can't understand the rationale of people doing this, it just makes no sense," he said.

Some people were allergic to the antibiotics and could become seriously ill if they got a dose in their food - potentially a great deterrence to foreign buyers.

"If you spray really early on, before the fruit flowers form, by the time you get to the fruit stage all the antibiotic is gone.

"But the naughty farmers that are illegally using streptomycin are injecting it into the vines at a much later stage which means that the fruit will contain residues."

The illegal use of streptomycin also had the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, he said.

It's not just people's health that has been put at risk here by what is a highly dangerous practice, it's an industry worth over $1.3 billion in export dollars each year, making this one of the biggest cock-ups in New Zealands horticultural history.

On Tuesday, the Nelson Mail reported:

Kiwifruit growers who have admitted to illegally injecting their vines with the antibiotic streptomycin in a bid to combat the devastating Psa-V virus should be prosecuted, says a Nelson industry leader.

Mainland Kiwi Growers chairman Rod Fry said today the unlawful actions of up to 50 Bay of Plenty growers, including former Zespri director Ray Sharp, had the potential to damage New Zealand's reputation and its markets because of fears the antibiotic could get into the food chain and eventually cause humans to form immunity to medicines.

Those who hadn't played by the rules were "dickheads" who deserved to be penalised, he said.

And the biggest dickhead of them all is EastPack director Ray Sharp.

What makes this so despicable is that Sharp is so sure he isn't going to be charged, that he's announced his crime like it's nothing. This idiot would have known he was breaking the law but did it anyway.

The Minister for Primary Industries David Carter and Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson have both come out with assurances that no contaminated kiwifruit will be sold or exported, but they fail to acknowledge that proper testing only began after the scandal broke.

People who are effected wont even realize the cause of their increased resistance to antibiotics let alone be able to prove an association with the kiwifruit they've consumed, so I guess the ministers and growers are safe in their lies.

There's been no assurance that streptomycin contaminated kiwifruit hasn't already been sold on the local market either, and what's more defective kiwifruit isn't just dumped, it's fed to pigs. The effects on them will be the same as humans.

As Director of Zespri at the time the crimes were committed, it's likely that many of the other growers simply followed Sharps lead. So for putting people's health at risk and cutting millions of dollars off our export earnings, Ray Sharp is most definitely an asshole!