Fruit from Philippines to undergo stricter inspection

Updated: 2012-05-12 11:01

By Jin Zhu in Beijing and Zhou Wenting in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Fruit from Philippines to undergo stricter inspection

Philippine bananas on display on a supermarket shelf in Changsha, Hunan province, on Thursday. [Photo / China News Service]


Fruit from the Philippines will receive stricter inspections for harmful organisms at Chinese borders, a potential setback for exporters from the country.

Ito Yokado, a Japanese supermarket chain in Beijing, has suspended sales of fruit imported from the Philippines at one of its stores for a few days, said Yang Kai, a staff member in the branch's public relations department.

"Also, we've stopped purchasing Philippine fruit from importers now. So far there is no schedule to restart it," he told China Daily on Thursday.

Pan Anyi, an administrator at Longwu fruit and vegetable market in the Minhang district of Shanghai, which is the city's largest wholesale and trading market of imported fruit, said all fruit sold there must have official border quarantine reports.

"As far as I know, bananas (from the Philippines) have been piled up at Chinese border docks," he said on Thursday.

China's top quality watchdog on Tuesday ordered stricter inspections on fruit imports from the Philippines after harmful organisms were found in several shipments, according to a notice posted on the website of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Insects and bacteria have been found in pineapples, bananas and other fruits imported from the Philippines to ports in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Shandong since last year, the notice said.

Spiders, ants and aphids have also been found in fruit from the Philippines, it said.

Local authorities have been ordered to closely monitor and increase checks of fruit imported from the Philippines. Samples that contain any living species, have black spots or show signs of rotting must be sent to a laboratory for further testing.

If harmful organisms are found, the fruit will be returned or destroyed, it said.

Shenzhen border quarantine officers have found harmful organisms in 90 of the 358 shipments of fruit imported from the Philippines this year, statistics from Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau showed.

"Some of the insects and bacteria, which are not found in China, could cause severe damages to the country's fruit trees and even other crops," said Wan Fanghao, director of the department of biological invasions at the institute of plant protection under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

"Stricter inspections on fruit imported from the Philippines will have little impact on the local supply of imported fruit in Beijing as not many fruits here are from the Philippines," said Tong Wei, director of a branch of Xinfadi, the largest wholesale center for agricultural produce in Beijing.

In Shanghai, fruit imported from the Philippines now are still on shelves in many supermarkets and farm produce markets, such as Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Glocal Japan Plaza, a Japanese retailer.

"We've asked the suppliers to step up scrutinizing the fruit after we learned many fruits from the country had been shown to carry harmful species from recent media reports," said the store manager of Glocal Japan Plaza in Huangpu district in Shanghai, who only gave his name as Cai.

Bananas and pineapples imported from the Philippines were on the stores' shelves on Thursday, and sales had not been affected, according to Cai.

Chen Hong in Shenzhen contributed to this story.

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