Australia now has 100 per cent locally grown frozen berries available on local shelves.
‘Matilda’s’ was launched by third generation strawberry farmers Matt and Ruth Gallace after dozens of people contracted Hepatitis A from eating contaminated frozen mixed berries, which were imported.
Until now commercial quantities of Australian frozen berries haven't been available.
Launched in-store on the 1st December, the berries are sourced from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has been in the Gallace family for fifty years, and has 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland.
Raspberries and blueberries will be 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 says the fact that they’ve built the factory from the ground up, and the packing site is exclusively for fruit, means there’s 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. 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.”
Ruth said 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.”
Ruth says it’s 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.”
Matilda’s frozen strawberries hit quality independent supermarket shelves in Victoria on 1st December including Leo’s, IGA’s, FoodWorks’ and LaManna’s across the State. They will be in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia in coming weeks.