New QLD super plum to shake up health food market

A SUPER plum bred by Department of Agriculture Fisheries & Forestry (DAFF) scientists could pack a powerful punch in the health food market with a dedicated supply of fruit being commercially harvested and processed for new products such as health juices.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh today visited the Good Rich Fruit Company's orchard at Warroo, west of Stanthorpe, for the start of the first commercial harvest of the Queen Garnet plums (QGP).

Mr McVeigh said the 75,000 QGP tree orchard was expected to yield 200 tonnes of the super plums.

"Our scientists have found that the QGP has very high levels of anthocyanins which can have considerable health benefits," Mr McVeigh said.

"The health food market is growing and we are taking advantage of these opportunities by helping develop new products that will benefit us all.

"The development of the QGP is a great example of how the Newman Government is making research and development in agriculture a priority to deliver new market opportunities and sustainability for the sector," Mr McVeigh said.

Member for Southern Downs and Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg said the Newman Government was committed to helping Queenslanders make positive changes to improve their health and wellbeing.

"The Southern Downs produces some of the best fruit and vegetables in the world, yet more than 65 per cent of Queenslanders are now overweight or obese," Mr Springborg said.

"There's no magic cure for obesity and the diseases it's associated with, but if this new plum is proven to provide superior health benefits it could be a useful addition to a healthy diet."

DAFF Scientist Dr Kent Fanning said the QGP was packed full of anthocyanins, which act as powerful antioxidants.

"Antioxidants are substances in food that are believed to help protect body cells," Dr Fanning said.

"The QGP is packed full of anthocyanins, which many other 'super berries' such as blueberries and cranberries are so well known for.

"Research tells us that anthocyanins can help improve cardiovascular health and may reduce the inflammation that is the underlying cause of cancers, heart disease and neurological disorders. They may also benefit digestive and bone health, while helping to reduce obesity and diabetes."

A range of new health food products, including powders and single strength juices, are expected to be available commercially by mid-2014.


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