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Strawberry 'scandal' leaves Swedes seething

Strawberry 'scandal' leaves Swedes seething

Published: 21 Jun 2012 11:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jun 2012 11:19 GMT+02:00

Foreign strawberries are being repackaged and passed off as Swedish, causing outrage among growers and authorities to send samples to Germany for analysis in an effort to stop the black market trade.

The popular tradition of real Swedish strawberries at midsummer is under threat this year, as an increasing number of markets are repackaging foreign strawberries and selling them off as Swedish.

“We have taken a few samples and they’re on the way to Germany for analysis,” said Waldemar Ibron of the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

While there have been favourable conditions for berry-growing in Sweden’s south lately, growers are furious that they’re being undersold by dishonest packagers.

”People ask me why my berries are more expensive, and I explain how it is,” said one anonymous grower to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“But I need proof too.”

According to the paper, it costs the typical berry-grower 11 kronor ($1.60) to produce one tub of strawberries – whereas foreign berries are being sold with a “grown in Sweden” label for just eight kronor.

However, despite the repackaging, it is still possible to differentiate between real and fake “Swedish” strawberries, according to DN.

Repackaged foreign berries will usually only say “Swedish berries” on them, whereas true Swedish berries will have details about origin, class, and who has produced them.

While Ibron laments that the pirate packagers will most likely never be caught due to the lengthy analysis time of three weeks, he is hopeful that one particular lead in southern Sweden may prove fruitful.

“We have one seller’s identity so we can trace them if there’s a good enough reason for it,” he told the paper.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

11:45 June 21, 2012 by byke
Seems they have gotten themselves into a bit of a jam.
11:46 June 21, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
If it seems too cheap to be possible, it generally isn't.
11:48 June 21, 2012 by fakeempire
There is a way to know this, if the strawberries look all natural, dirty, not bright red, they are probably Swedish. If they look picture perfect, shiny red, and juicy then they probably come from somewhere else.
11:52 June 21, 2012 by Keith #5083
#byke

luv it!
12:24 June 21, 2012 by EP
HAHA ,,, probably has been going on for ages and the Swedes still live with the self-created illusion that somehow Swedish strawberries are the best ... and all along ... they weren't even Swedish ;-)
12:45 June 21, 2012 by Beavis
so what..I buy the Belgian and Polish ones instead. They are cheaper and fresher and better quality. Both countries also have a minimum wage and pay much more than the Swedes who every year abuse Vietnamese workers to pick berries
23:23 June 21, 2012 by BillyB
The foreign ones taste better so this is a good thing
10:24 June 23, 2012 by calebian22
Everyone knows Mount Hood strawberries are the best.
21:26 June 23, 2012 by salalah
Eat my dingleberries you cheaters!
23:08 June 23, 2012 by Rishonim
@fakeempire.. LOL... Agree, Swedish strawberries are rather insipid and boring. In order to get some flavour out of them one need to soak them in sugar water for a few hours. What about tomatoes? we could use a few tasty ones as well
21:49 June 24, 2012 by johan rebel
Who cares? Commercially grown strawberries completely lack flavor. All the farmers care about is large harvests; that the berries are resistant to bruising and can therefore easily be transported long distances; and that they have a long shelf life. The stupid consumers will keep buying them anyway.

Like strawberries? Get hold of a variety that is at least 40 years old, and grow your own. That way you will reduce your pesticide intake as well.
15:02 June 29, 2012 by Michael A. Lowry
Why send the strawberries to GERMANY for testing? German laboratories are just not the same. The strawberries should be tested in SWEDEN!
18:02 June 29, 2012 by reel life
I don't care where they're from, as long as they are certified organic (absolutely no pesticides), and not from an area that got a lot of the Fukushima radiation. Radioactive cesium is almost identical to potassium, so any fruit or vegetable high in potassium is going to soak up a lot of cesium. Strawberries are high in potassium.
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