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Shenzhen fruit market hit by Guangzhou list
Latest Updated by 2007-03-30 09:27:22

THE Guangzhou food safety office's compilation of a groundless list of 12 kinds of fruit branded "unsafe for consumption" has severely affected Shenzhen's fruit wholesale and retail markets, which recorded a 50 percent decrease in sales in the past week, local media said.

"The list of the 12 kinds of fruit was made on the basis of some research the office's employees did. The result was not from any onfield inspection to fruit markets," said an official with the Guangzhou food safety office, who gave only her last name Li.

Li said the office had received thousands of inquiries calls about the list from fruit sellers around the country since March 20, when the list was first made public on the office's Web site.

"The list was meant to be a reference for consumers, and we never expect it to have such huge impact on fruit market," Li said.

However, the "reference" list has dealt a severe blow on Shenzhen's fruit business. Many fruit wholesalers from other provinces as well as from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia have canceled their orders in the past week, the Daily Sunshine report said.

Pan Yong, a fruit dealer at the Buji farm produce wholesale market, said that his business was down by almost 90 percent last week. "Apple, pear, watermelon, litchi, orange and banana, all the fruit I deal with are on the list. The daily sale volume of apple, for example, dropped to two to five tons each day from 50 tons before March 20," Pan said.

Pan said he became aware of the fruit list after he received a phone call from a Hong Kong client who canceled an recent order and said he dared not import fruit from the mainland any more.

The apples and pears Pan bought from fruit growers in Anhui and Shandong provinces used to sell well in Shenzhen, with buyers from as far as Southeast Asia, but now he hardly receives any inquiries, the Daily Sunshine said.

Fruit sales slowed after the list was announced, but Shenzhen's fruit wholesalers are also having difficulties collected payment for fruit they sold before the list wat put out.

Chen Weixiong who delivered 110,000 cartons of orange to a client in Singapore in early March didn't receive the payment which was due last week. "He called last week saying that there were reports online saying fruit from China are poisonous. He refused to pay me for the oranges," Chen said.

Official statistics from the Buji market showed that more than 1,800 tons of fruit were sold at the market every day, one-third of which were sent to Southeast Asia. After the Guangzhou list was released, the fruit export volume fell to near zero, while domestic sales were slashed by 50 percent.

Editor: Wing

By:Wei Jie
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