China: Counterfeit Zespri kiwifruit found in Beijing
In a case that is not the first and probably won't be the last of its kind, 1,480 boxes of fake Zespri-branded kiwifruit were recently found in Beijing's Fengtai District.
Zespri is New Zealand's single desk marketer of kiwifruit, which at this time of year sells fruit grown in Europe and Asia under its brand, but not from China.
Publication Fa Zhi Wan Bao (Legislative Evening Paper) reported staff from the Fengtai commerce office received a tip-off from a licensed vendor of Zespri kiwifruit in the district's new produce market.
Officials then proceeded to the venue and conducted checks, and a representative of the company licensed to carry real Zespri kiwifruit confirmed the counterfeit fruit infringed on trademark rights.
A commerce office representative told Fa Zhi Wan Bao the fake Zespri kiwifruit are not only expensive, but because of lack of control in terms of quality and logistics, they tend to go off very easily and could cause harm to consumers' health.
In a statement given to Fresh Fruit Portal, Zespri head of corporate affairs China, Holly Brown, highlighted concerns about counterfeiting and the systems in place to stamp out the practice.
"Zespri is one of the top fruit brands in the world, with over NZ$1 billion invested in the Zespri brand by growers since 1997," Brown said.
"Like other high profile brands, counterfeiting is a concern to us and we protect our reputation for premium quality, safe, nutritious kiwifruit in a range of ways.
"This includes working with government officials, educating consumers, and looking out for and prosecuting infringements where possible."
She said the recent interception of counterfeit Zespri kiwifruit by the Beijing Fengtai district AIC law enforcement team was a great example of this partnership in action, and "we appreciate their support in taking immediate action".
"Zespri uses a number of technologies to protect our brand and manage traceability. We work closely with leading technology providers to continually improve our systems, giving our consumers confidence they are eating genuine premium-quality Zespri Kiwifruit," she said.
In September last year COO Simon Limmer told Fresh Fruit Portal counterfeiting concerns were one of the key aspects under consideration in deciding whether to start sourcing Zespri-branded, Chinese-grown kiwifruit.