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Citywide check after cement found in apple boxes

A Beijing market has ordered all apple suppliers to register their real names after customers found cement hidden in apple boxes for extra weight, Changjiang Daily reported yesterday.

An official with the Xinfadi Agricultural Wholesale Market said the new measure would allow them to track the origin of problem apples.

Boxes containing cement pieces have emerged since last month. The market has banned the stocking of apples as a result, the report said.

He said consumers nowadays buy apples by box and rarely open the box to check if they later use it as a gift. Unfortunately, gift receivers, if they found cement pieces in the box, would say nothing, unwilling to embarrass the givers. This leaves a loophole for unscrupulous suppliers to play the trick.

Similar problem has also been found in Shanghai. Some vendors at the Shanghai Shanhua Fruit Wholesale Market admitted that they would do the same thing to make the boxes 1 kilogram heavier.

The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said they will carry out a citywide check this week and announce the result immediately. Market management officials said vendors who sell cement-added apples will be expelled.

Authorities in other provinces and cities have also taken action against the unlawful practice.

Some media reported that the scam originated in Jingning County, Gansu Province, but China News Agency reported yesterday that a local government investigation showed that all boxes of Jingning apples were qualified.

Sun Zhiqing, deputy chief of the county, said that although the problem boxes had Jingning brand printed on them, they were actually not from the county. The county government will ask local apple producers to protect their shared brand, the report said.


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