Lockyer farmers attack over Grantham cancer claims

SCARE MONGERING: Grantham farmer Derek Schulz has been forced to defend his produce.
SCARE MONGERING: Grantham farmer Derek Schulz has been forced to defend his produce. Nev Madsen

A GRANTHAM farmer has defended his produce after cancer claims made on Channel 7 that the produce of the Lockyer Valley was not safe to eat.

The claims have angered farmers and other locals who say there is no evidence to support the contention that contamination had caused a 'cancer cluster' in the area.

Grantham farmer Derek Schulz, a major producer in the area, is upset that this minority group could potentially destroy the industry in the Lockyer Valley.

"We have got the hardest, toughest, most vigorous food safety rules here in Australia," he said.

He said the claims are 'one thousand per cent untrue' and noted that floods happen all over the world, not just Grantham.

"It is scare-mongering, there is nothing to back it up," he said.

"We have got everything here to back up that our ground is safe because we get it vigorously tested through the whole growing season."

Mr Schulz said he copped just as much devastation as every other person in Grantham but he had chosen to move on.

"The scar has almost healed, why do we have to go pick at it again?" he said.

Mr Schulz's own daughter has been battling brain tumours for over a year.

"I am not blaming the floods for her tumour, it is just a fact of life, an unfortunate fact that some people must face," he said.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones has also defended the industry.

"To call into question the safeness of Lockyer Valley produce is disgraceful, particularly when these statements are made without any evidence whatsoever," he said.

"We certainly acknowledge that anyone suffering from cancer should be given the full support of the community, however, we mustn't let that take away the livelihoods of our farming families who take great pride in delivering safe, fresh produce to the dinner plates of Australians.

"The testing regimes our farmers go through are some of the most stringent in the world and I, for one, would much rather eat my vegetables knowing they've come from the Lockyer Valley."

The Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry released a statement late last week which said the ongoing testing of the region's vegetable, beef and dairy industries since the 2011 floods had not detected significant contamination issues that could be attributed to the flooding.

Topics:  farmers grantham lockyer valley steve jones

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