Global Processing

Australia Police Probe Chemical Attack on Crops

July 19, 2010
The Associated Foreign Press reports Australian police are investigating the mysterious mass poisoning of seven million tomatoes, eggplants and other crops. Authorities probed whether vandals or a competitor with a grudge had put herbicide in sprinklers at a nursery near the northeastern city of Cairns, wiping out 16 million tons of produce, mostly tomatoes. The damaged crops also included capsicums, pumpkins, melons, eggplants and zucchini due to be harvested and transported across Australia and to New Zealand and Vanuatu in the coming months. Prices are expected to double or triple as a result, and growers'' profits will suffer a hit estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. It is the fourth and most dramatic incident of crop sabotage in the area in the past decade, and police said they were contemplating a reward for information.