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The great raspberry scam

The great raspberry scam © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution

 

A major fraud in the world of raspberries is laid bare in a report by Reuters. In January 2017, Chilean customs inspectors acted on a tip from a whistleblower that the country’s prized crop of raspberries was under threat. Inspectors raided the offices of Frutti di Bosco, a little-known fruit trading company on the second floor of a tower block in downtown Santiago. The files, company data and sales records they seized revealed a food trading racket that spanned three continents.

At its heart was a fraud centred on raspberries. Low-cost frozen berries grown in China were being shipped to a packing plant in central Chile. Hundreds of tons of fruit were repackaged and rebranded by Frutti di Bosco as premium Chilean-grown organics, then shipped to consumers in Canadian cities including Vancouver and Montreal, according to documents prepared by Chilean Customs as part of its investigation. The agency calculated that at least $12 million worth of mislabelled raspberries were sent to Canada between 2014 and 2016.

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Accusations of misuse of EU funds for “organic” farming in Croatia

Croatia's Chamber of Agriculture

Croatia’s Chamber of Agriculture has claimed that the country’s farmers owe huge amounts to the EU due to the misuse of funding set aside for organic agriculture. Total Croatia News reports that the Agricultural Ministry later denied all allegations, while admitting some “irregularities” existed in EU-back funding for organic farming which were quickly weeded out.

The accusations first surfaced when Chamber of Agriculture Vice President, Antun Vrankić, bemoaned the poor state of eastern Croatia’s farming sector. An EU inspection found that only 2% of the incentives paid for organic farming was justified, with 98% being false, amounting to €400 million, which the EU is now demanding be returned. Farmers are being asked to share the cost equally as an act of solidarity.

In response, Agriculture Minister, Marija Vucković, called the accusations “untested and completely inaccurate” in a lengthy statement pushing back against Vrankić’s claims. 

Vrakić is concerned about Croatia’s ability to feed itself at this critical time, with self-sufficiency falling below 40%.

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Italy employs blockchain to protect against Sicilian blood orange fraud

Italy employs blockchain to protect against Sicilian blood orange fraud

 

Italy’s citrus sector is implementing blockchain technology in a bid to stave of attempts by fraudsters to pass off South African oranges as PGI Sicilian blood oranges. By affixing high-tech tags to crates of PGI Sicilian blood oranges, the hope is that this will boost transparency and protect against food fraud. 

Termed the ROUGE Project, the initiative was devised by a consortium of over 600 stakeholders, with over 6,500 hectares under cultivation of Moro, Sanguillo and Tarocco oranges. 

Source: www.foodnavigator.com

TAGS: blood orange, fraud, Sicily

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New method to test whether your fruit and vegetables are truly organic 

New method to test whether your fruit and vegetables are truly organic 

Danish scientists have developed a new method for identifying whether or not a potato is organic, thereby helping consumers avoid being duped. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have devised an approach that looks at how organic plants are fertilised, as this provides a deeper, more accurate portrayal of whether eco-labelled produce is indeed organic. The method provides more details about on how a product was cultivated. Focusing on the isotope signature in a plant by isolating sulphate, a chemical compound can reveal how a particular plant was grown. Humans, animals and plants all have isotope signatures that provide information about the environment in which they live and what they consume.

Imported organic fruits and vegetables are susceptible to food fraud and the number of falsely eco-labelled produce is unknown because fertilisation methods remain untested.

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La Unio de Llauradors reports confusion of Orri and Nadorcott varieties in large retailers

mandarinas orri

La Unio de Llauradors has reported another case of consumer fraud, with the erroneous labeling of citrus varieties. This time it relates to Orri mandarins, for which citrus farmers pay the highest royalties, which are being sold in retailers as the Nadorcott variety. The association points out that Orri and Nadorcott are two different varieties that growers must pay plantation and commercialisation licenses to plant and market. The cost of royalties for producing and selling Orri are around €37,500 per hectare plus a fixed rate per kilo sold. Unlike Orri, Nadorcott is not a seedless mandarin variety and so is not as appealing to the consumer. Indeed, the price received by the Orri producer is currently €1/Kg, while for the Nadorcott it is €0.60/kg. La Unio believes this confusion is damaging the image of Orri and the sector as a whole and so demands the relevant authorities take swift action to end this malpractice.

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Sicily inundated with imported products sold as local

122cit igp arancia rossa

Imports of fresh produce are being passed off as PGI products grown in Sicily. This is the assertion of the island’s Regional Councilor for Agriculture, Edy Bandiera. Containers of unlabeled tomatoes and oranges with the PGI brand have arrived at the port of Pozzallo this year from abroad, as well as Egyptian potatoes labeled as Sicilian. In the past year, there have been a hundred sanctions for irregular products arriving on the island, leading to the setting up of a special task force to deal with the problem.

This year, more than 76 million agro-food products have landed in Sicilian ports from abroad. Airports inspectors last year found a container of oranges from Tunisia that were not conserved properly, as well as lemons and mangoes bringing pests with them from North Africa. Just in the night of January 31st, the taskforce found that of the 36,000 kilos of artichokes arriving, more than half had no indications of origin. The same was the case with almost 6,000 kilos of lemons and tangerines, 7,500 kilos of oranges. The Sicilian government suspects that these products are being sold as local, leading to risks for consumers and producers alike.