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Agency steps up efforts to unmask strawberry cheats

TT/David Landes · 3 Jun 2009, 17:57

Published: 03 Jun 2009 17:57 GMT+02:00

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In addition to increased inspections, the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) also plans on utilizing isotope analysis to expose suspected cases of strawberry fraud.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of reports in the Swedish press about imported strawberries being packaged and sold as authentic Swedish strawberries.

While the Board of Agriculture has never come across a confirmed case of the alleged strawberry fraud, the agency is taking no chances in its efforts to protect Swedish consumers.

The agriculture board announced on Tuesday it plans to dispatch more than 20 inspectors tasked with taking a closer look at the strawberries lining the shelves in stores, street markets, and roadside stands all across the country.

After inspecting the berries’ packaging and invoices, inspectors then call up growers to confirm that appropriate prices are being charged.

Suspicious strawberries are confiscated, then sent to a lab in Germany which in turn performs an isotope analysis to determine the origins of the berries by cross-referencing them with samples of guaranteed Swedish strawberries.

“Customers are faithful in their purchases and buy Swedish. The consumer has the right to make an informed choice,” said Susanne Görsberg from the Agriculture Board’s trade and marketing division, to the TT news agency.

Also working in the agency’s favour this year, according Waldemar Ibron, an inspector based in Helsingborg in western Sweden, is the drop in the price difference between Swedish strawberries and imported strawberries.

Story continues below…

According to Ibron, there is less of an incentive than in years past for merchants to deliberately mislabel strawberries because there is less to gain by passing off imported berries as Swedish.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

00:33 June 4, 2009 by Beavis
Had some "Belgian" ones recently sold outside ICA. Must say they were 100% times better than the "Swedish" ones that were sitting rotting in ICA (as they are unable to understand the concept of stock control)

Is there somewhere you can report stuff like this? (mislabelled food)

Jordbruksverket dont seem to care that both ICA and Poop are selling mislabbled beef. They are selling Swedish beef as Irish and vice-versa. They dont need any high tech equipment to spot this. Irish beef is slightly better quality than Swedish beef (althogh Swedes believe their beef is better) But the difference is easily told. Irish beef exporters add a dark red bye to the meat to make it "look fresher", wheras Swedish beef producers dont add dye.

How come the strawberries get such attention?

And how come most supermarkets are within their rights to sell rotten fruit on their shelves?

Sounds like someone at Jordbruksverket has a personal economic interest in strwberries to me..
10:54 June 4, 2009 by klaassen
We produce in Poland kl. 1. strawberries and if we compare the our quality after delivery to sweden with the swedisch grown quality, we can not understand that people in sweden still buy the swedisch grown strawberries. Quality 2 times less and price 2 times higher!!
23:15 June 4, 2009 by Kooritze
Keep up the good work strawberry police!!!
00:57 June 6, 2009 by zsheikh
I came across a few shops selling expired products without any fear. I bought a chocolate, ARRIBA which was being offered at 5 Kr (ordinary price is 45 Kr). Product expired on 26-04-09 and it is still on sale. I bought it in first week of June 09. It's shocking to see that it is being done in Solna Centrum. I pointed it out to the shopkeeper and he confirmed that the chocolate is expired. An Indian shop located at Valhallavägen also sells expired products.

I am not sure which agency is responsible for keeping an eye on this matter. I wonder if there exists any. Just by the way, no high tech is needed to uncover this malpractice. It is a highly serious issue. It is, in fact, a crime and authorities should act without any further delay.

I also request The Local to, please, publish a list of different agencies so that consumers can report such incidents directly.
17:44 June 7, 2009 by lingonberrie
Why are shopkeepers allowed to sell expired products?
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