Stricter supervision for city's strawberry producers

Shanghai residents will be able to find out more information about local fruit after more producers are included in the agricultural commission's food safety traceability system.

The city's agricultural commission is strengthening supervision of its food safety traceability system on strawberries to cover more local suppliers.

With the system, Shanghai residents can find out the strawberries' origin and quality indexes by scanning a QR code on the package.

This year's first local strawberry tasting event organized by the commission was held in Qingpu District on Saturday. Besides the quality of the strawberries, tough tests were also given to candidates on the level of pesticide residue.

"There were 30 local strawberry suppliers applying for this tasting event, but we found the pesticide residue level of the product from one of them was slightly higher than the standard we set. And that's why you could only found 29 booths today," said Wang Dedi, a commission official. Before the event, commission staff went to each supplier to test the soil and pesticide levels.

Sun Peng, a supplier in Fengxian District who took part in the event, said his team was always very strict with the application of pesticide. "But now some vendors on the street don't really care about that and some of their strawberries have excessive pesticide residue."

The Shanghai Agricultural Commission launched random inspections on strawberry producers in December which will continue to April on the residue of 35 pesticides. "So far only two suppliers failed the test," Wang said.

Last year, Shanghai's total production of strawberries totalled 42,000 tons. This year the amount is likely to be less, Wang said. That could push up prices.

Zhu Longzhou, another producer, said that might be linked to hot weather and heavy rain in September, when farmers were planting strawberry seedlings.

On Saturday, more than 100 citizens and 11 domestic and foreign strawberry experts voted for the best fruit. Products of the three winners of the tasting event will be promoted on an e-commerce platform in cooperation with the commission.

The agricultural commission is planning to organize more tasting events on local food such watermelon, grapes, crab, rice and vegetables to promote Shanghai-grown produce.

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