U.S. blueberry shipment warning from Japan

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U.S. blueberry shipment warning from Japan

Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare has ordered receivers of U.S. blueberries to inspect produce after three shipments were found to have pesticide levels above the standard limit.

The North American Blueberry Council (NABC) said it was working with Japanese and U.S. authorities to determine the cause of the findings, which showed blueberries that 'slightly exceeded' the permissible MRL (Maximum Residue Level) for the East Asian country.

"While the berries are acceptable for consumption in the U. S., Japanese standards are more stringent, and samples from the shipments to Japan appear to exceed acceptable Japanese levels," NABC executive director Mark Villata said in a release.

"We expect this is an isolated incident, but we naturally are concerned and are cooperating fully to determine the source of the problem."

The release said the industry has identified the sources of the shipments in question, and was currently consulting with shippers in a bid to find the cause of the residue findings, and determine the next steps.

U. S. data shows a total of 5.7 million pounds of fresh U. S. Blueberries and 6.8 million pounds of frozen berries were shipped to Japan in 2011, with all shipments meeting the country's MRL levels.

"Japan is our leading offshore market, and we want to be absolutely certain that it is receiving the very best products available."

He added the U. S. blueberry industry would work with shippers to be certain they carefully monitor export shipments.


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