Matilda’s of­fers con­sumers a berry good and safe prod­uct

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

BERRY DELIGHT: Char­lotte and Ella Gal­lace pic­tured pro­mot­ing their fam­ily’s new frozen berry ven­ture.

THE first all-Aus­tralian frozen berries have hit su­per­mar­ket shelves thanks to third-gen­er­a­tion straw­berry farm­ers Matt and Ruth Gal­lace.

Un­til re­cently, com­mer­cial quan­ti­ties of Aus­tralian frozen berries have not been avail­able.

The only frozen berries that were avail­able were im­ported from other coun­tries.

The cou­ple’s 100 per cent lo­cally grown frozen berry busi­ness, Matilda’s, was launched af­ter dozens of peo­ple con­tracted Hep­ati­tis A from eating im­ported con­tam­i­nated frozen mixed berries.

Berries are sourced from the 800 acre Sunny Ridge Straw­berry Farm in Main Ridge, Vic­to­ria and Queens­land, which has been in the Gal­lace fam­ily for 50 years.

Rasp­ber­ries and blue­ber­ries are sourced from New South Wales and Tasmania.

The berries are all hand­picked, washed and snap frozen in an en­tirely new pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity in the Yarra Val­ley.

Matilda’s co-founder Ruth Gal­lace said the fact that they have built the fac­tory from the ground up, and the pack­ing site is ex­clu­sively for fruit, means there is no risk of cross con­tam­i­na­tion.

“In many cases nuts are pro­cessed on the same site used to process other foods, which causes great con­cern for par­ents who have chil­dren with al­ler­gies,” she said.

“My daugh­ter has ana­phy­laxis and I’m only too well aware of the need to en­sure there is no chance of con­tam­i­na­tion.

“The beauty of hav­ing our own site means it’s only used ex­clu­sively for fruit, so there is noth­ing else pro­cessed on site,” Mrs Gal­lace said.

She added that the ori­gin of each prod­uct is com­pletely trans­par­ent too and is la­belled on each and ev­ery bag, so con­sumers know which re­gion the berries came from.

“We’re re­ally proud to be able to pro­vide a prod­uct which re­ally chal­lenges the cur­rent food la­belling sys­tem.

“There needs to be far more trans­parency as to food ori­gin, how it’s pro­cessed and pack­aged.”

Mrs Gal­lace be­lieves that it is now up to the con­sumer to show they want a wholly Aus­tralian prod­uct and to ask for it at their lo­cal re­tailer.

“De­mand will now be driven by the con­sumer, and the peo­ple re­ally do hold the power.

“If you ask for the prod­uct, your re­tailer will or­der it in,” she said.

Matilda’s frozen straw­ber­ries can be pur­chased at Leo’s, IGA, Foodworks and La Manna’s across Vic­to­ria.

We’re re­ally proud to be able to pro­vide a prod­uct which re­ally chal­lenges the cur­rent food la­belling sys­tem.

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