Chinese customs rejects South African table grape shipment
Customs officials in China's southern district of Doumen have turned away 16.56 metric tons (MT) of South African table grapes, claiming the shipment's cold handling didn't meet requirements and phytosanitary certificates were inconsistent.
The table grapes were in inspected while in transit from Hong Kong, with 3,599 cases that had an estimated market value of US$40,000.
China inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) reported this was the first time inspectors in Doumen - which is part of Zhuhai in Guangdong - had rejected South African grapes due to a failure to meet cold handling standards.
The event comes just five months after the Chinese Government agreed to relax its cold treatment protocols for South African grapes, in what was described as 'one of the biggest breakthroughs since deregulation in agriculture’.
The new protocol set cold treatment procedures at +0.8°C for a minimum of 20 days, as opposed to the previous protocol which required the grapes to undergo temperatures of -0.6°C for 22 days.
In the CIQ announcement, the authorities said South African grapes could only be kept at a maximum of 2.22℃ in order to prevent diseases and pests.