Indonesia has added itself to the list of countries in South East Asia that have banned imports of Gala and Granny Smith apples from Californian company Bidart Bros.
Indonesia does not import apples from Bidart Bros, which are branded under ‘Granny’s Best’ and ‘Big B’ labels, with no licences to supply Bidart Bros' Granny Smith and Gala apples granted to Indonesian importers, according to the Jakarta Post. However, the apples can enter Indonesia from neighbouring countries and under other labels, which has prompted the government to take precautionary measures and impose a ban on the distribution of the apples by local distributors.
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand have now all placed bans on imports of these apples, with recalls of the imported apples made in the Philippines and Malaysia.
Sensationalised news reports in Malaysia and Vietnam have sparked consumer concern over the safety of not only US apples, but all imported apples, which could affect sales of the imported fruit in the short-term.
The International Food Safety Authorities Network issued an alert on 17 January after a listeria outbreak in the US was traced back to the Bidart Bros Shafter packhouse. The alert followed a voluntary recall posted by Bidart Bros on 8 January.
As of 9 January, the US Food & Drug Administration reported 32 cases of listeria across the US, though Fruitnet understands that no cases of listeria as a result of the consumption of imported US apples have been reported in South East Asia.