Investigation on imported fruits: most fruits outside the e-commerce sales list are made in China.

   Japanese honeydew melon of nearly 1500 yuan each.

   Merchants who marked Japanese fruit said it was "made in China"

  Text/Figure Yangcheng Evening News reporter Luo Qing Intern Wang Wei

  Recently, a netizen vomited that he ate a 138-yuan-a-petal honeydew melon at a one-day food store in Shenzhen. The store responded to the relevant media that this is Shizuoka honeydew melon imported from Japan. According to Shenzhen Customs, there are no honeydew melons or cantaloupes among the fresh fruits that China has allowed to import from Japan.

  The Yangcheng Evening News survey found that after the incident, many Japanese food stores were still selling "Shizuoka honeydew melon"; Many e-commerce merchants sell fruits other than the List of Varieties of Fresh Fruits Approved for Import and Export in China (hereinafter referred to as the List) issued by the General Administration of Customs. When the reporter questioned the merchants selling these imported fruits, whether the fruits were imported or not, many merchants said that they were "made in China". In other words, these businesses selling fruits outside the catalogue are either suspected of false propaganda or smuggling. In addition, experts say that it is difficult for consumers to tell whether the fruits they buy are imported from formal channels.

  Many merchants sell off-list fruits.

  The reporter’s investigation found that the sale of "Shizuoka honeydew melon" in Shenzhen Japanese food store is not an isolated case, and similar situations also exist in other regions. The reporter searched for keywords in Meituan and public comments and found that some Japanese food stores in Beijing, Guangzhou and other regions also sell cooking packages containing "Shizuoka Melon", and the prices are generally higher. In a Japanese food store in Haizhu District, Guangzhou, only the most expensive 4,680 yuan double package includes Japanese Fuji-class Shizuoka honeydew melon, and other packages only indicate "seasonal fruits".

  In addition to Japanese food stores, the reporter searched on the e-commerce platform with "imported fruit" and "high-end fruit" as keywords, and many expensive fruits appeared, such as Shizuoka honeydew melon in Japan, Shizuoka tomato in Japan, pale white strawberry in Japan, and unicorn fruit in Colombia. The reporter checked the list and found that Japan only allowed to import apples and pears, and Colombia only allowed to import bananas and avocados. The common feature of these imported fruits is the high price. For example, the price of six Japanese Shizuoka honeydew melons in a box is as high as 8,900 yuan, and the price of Shizuoka tomatoes with a weight of 1 kg is 988 yuan.

  Subsequently, the reporter randomly selected three products marked as "imported fruits" on the e-commerce platform for inquiry. As a result, the other party indicated that their fruits were "made in China". When the reporter asked an e-commerce customer service where the "spot Shizuoka tomato" with a price of 398 yuan per catty and the Japanese pale white strawberry with a price of 178 yuan per catty were produced, the other party replied "Kiss, made in China".

  Customs has repeatedly destroyed non-compliant imported fruits.

  Customs quarantine of imported food is the last and most critical line of protection for consumers to eat imported food. The reporter found that in 2016, Shenzhen Customs destroyed nearly 25 tons of bananas imported from the Philippines with pesticide residues exceeding China’s food safety standards; In 2020, Shenzhen Customs also found that there were two batches of imported fruits with excessive pesticide residues.

  Some imported fruits will also be suspended because they fail the inspection and quarantine. For example, due to the fact that the Chinese customs has repeatedly detected the species of pineapple, annona squarrosa and lotus fog that have been allowed to be imported in Taiwan Province since 2021, the website of the General Administration of Customs issued notices on March 1 and September 20, 2021 to suspend the import of pineapple, annona squarrosa and lotus fog into Chinese mainland. So far, the above fruits have not been allowed to resume entry.

  Is there any way for consumers to tell that the fruits they buy come from formal channels? Jiang Zhuoqin, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, said, "It’s very difficult": "First, consumers don’t have much time and methods to trace this problem, and second, few businesses offer imported documents on their own initiative." Jiang Zhuoqin said that it is the best choice for consumers to buy through formal channels.

  The reporter found that not only few merchants offered to provide imported documents, but even when the reporter wanted to check the relevant certificates, he also encountered the situation of "buying before reading". When the reporter asked the e-commerce store selling "Thailand Dragon Palace Fruit" if it could provide the customs declaration form and relevant quarantine certificate, the other party said, "I will provide it for you if you place an order." The reporter bought two kilograms and sent the order to the other party before receiving the relevant certificate.