Second OZblu blueberry shipment from South Africa seized in Europe
A second shipment of OZblu blueberries from South Africa in as many weeks has been seized by Dutch customs, according to United Exports.
United Exports, the Australia-headquartered company, said it had been "reliably informed that the Dutch Customs Authority has intercepted and seized another shipment of fresh blueberries from South African grower, Ross Berries."
"The 40ft reefer container containing a 16,600-kilogram shipment of fruit was confiscated in terms of the European Union’s Intellectual Property, Counterfeit and Piracy Regulations."
United Exports announced last week that a shipment of OZblu blueberries had been intercepted in the Netherlands after it was grown and exported without its authorization. At that time it did not provide the name of the South African company in question.
It said that Ross Berries, a Rossouw Farming Group company, was attempting to export the fruit "in flagrant disregard and abuse of the proprietary rights of United Exports", which holds the Community Plant Variety Rights in the OZblu blueberry plants and their fruit in the European Union and across the World.
"This is the second such transgression after a shipment was seized last week on 27th October 2020 on the same grounds," it said.
"The European Union Customs Authority, has notified the authorities at all points of entry across the European Union to monitor the import of South African blueberries into the European Union to prevent the further infringement of United Exports’ intellectual property rights in relation to its OZblu blueberry plants and fruit.
"Civil claims are also pending both locally and abroad. Following the seizure of the first shipment, the Dutch Customs Authority has again brought proceedings in the Netherlands against the South African fruit exporter, Freshworld (Pty) Ltd, the international shipper, and the Belgian customer to whom Ross Berries and Freshworld sold the fruit. "
Dave and Leasa Mazzardis of Australia in collaboration with United Exports’ have been developing the OZblu proprietary blueberry varieties over nearly three decades.