THE appearance of imported American onions on a wholesale trading floor has prompted the national industry body to repeat its calls for consumers to "buy Australian".
During a tour of the new Melbourne Market last week as part of the Onions Australia annual conference in Melbourne, delegates saw numerous bags of imported onions from the United States.
The Queensland fresh onion season is in full swing and Onions Australia chairperson Kees Versteeg, himself a Queenslander, said the produce is available on supermarket and greengrocer shelves, as well as in the wholesale markets.
“Onions Australia has been campaigning for some time to have the imports stopped,” he said.
“We have undertaken a national education campaign to alert both retailers and consumers that Australia has a plentiful supply of our own locally grown onions.
“Australian onions are grown in the safest conditions, with our growers adhering to the strictest production standards second to none.
“Australian onions are available year round because our growers have worked hard to ensure supply, with Queensland kicking off the season, followed within weeks by the other growing states of Australia.”
According to Mr Versteeg, both Coles and Woolworths have given an undertaking they would not import US onions.
“It has come to our attention that the independent retailers do not adhere to that same agreement and regretfully imported red and white onions have already been detected in the domestic wholesale markets,” he said.
“Onions Australia urges all consumers to ask their retailer exactly where their onions have been sourced from, and to ensure that they are Australian grown.
"If in doubt, ask your retailer to see the outer packaging these onions arrived in."
The industry is expecting a high quality yield this season.
Mr Versteeg reiterated his recent calls for consumers to shun any US imports and buy Australian product.
“Buying Australian grown onions brings peace of mind and knowledge that the product is clean and green, posing no risk to consumers," he said.
"There is no need for US onions to enter Australia, and no need for consumers to purchase them. Supporting your Australian onion growers is all we ask from you.”