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Lawmakers call for inquiry following Reuters investigation of a Chilean raspberry scam that dodged food safety controls from China to Canada

Raspberries are pictured during a harvest season at a local farm near Chillan, Chile March 13, 2020. Picture taken March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Saavedra

Following a year-long investigation, Reuters revealed this week a frozen fruit scam spanning from China to Chile and then on to consumers in Canada, leading to outcry from officials and industry groups.

In ‘Raspberry Racket,’ Reuters revealed that low-cost frozen berries grown in China were shipped to a packing plant in central Chile. Hundreds of tons of fruit were then 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 mislabeled raspberries were sent to Canada between 2014 and 2016.

The insightful story drew wide reaction, including a strong response in Chile, with lawmakers calling for a special legislative session to understand how the fraud had skirted international regulators and why it was kept quiet. Industry groups called for tough sanctions, and Chilean Customs and Foreign Ministries were forced to respond. In Canada, their customs agency told Reuters it was investigating the matter on the back of the news agency’s reporting.

Click here to read ‘Raspberry Racket.’

[Reuters PR blog post]

Media Contact:

Heather Carpenter

heather.carpenter @ tr.com

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