[Ed. – Where’s Peter Sellers when you need him?]
French authorities said Monday that they had dismantled a long-running scam to label and sell Italian kiwis as more pricey French fruit.
“Kiwis imported from Italy were ‘Frenchified’ during transport so that they could be sold at a higher price,” Virginie Beaumeunier of the country’s DGCCRF anti-fraud agency said at a press conference.
The fraud involved some 15,000 tonnes of kiwis over a three-year period, and the agency said seven companies were facing charges after making a combined six million euros ($6.8 million) in illicit profits.
“Unlike the Italians, we don’t use anti-spoiling fungicides after harvesting which conserve them for several months, so we have higher losses in cold-storage rooms, which increases our production costs,” said Francois Lafitte, president of the French kiwi growers’ association.