A ban on imports of California-packed Bidart Bros' Granny Smith and Gala apples has seen sales of all imported apples drop in Indonesia.
Consumer confidence has fallen following a listeria outbreak in the US, which was traced to the Bidart Bros’ Shafter packhouse, resulting in a voluntary recall of its Granny Smith And Gala apples on 8 January.
The apples are imported under the Granny’s best and Big B trademark, though importers in Indonesia have said the effects are more widespread due to sensationalised media reports.
“Sales of apples, especially from the US, have dropped significantly due to the media reports, which tend to exaggerate the situation,” Federick Sek of retailer Central Lucky told Fruitnet. “The minister of trade and agriculture has already said that the ban of US apples only applies to those products that come from Bidart Bros packing house in California. Washington apples has been declared safe to eat and consume.”
Similar reports have come from Malaysia and other South East Asian nations where the Biadrt Bros apples have been banned and in some cases recalled, affecting sales of Washington apples.
“We are happy that sales of other varieties likes Pacific Rose and Red Delicious that comes from Washington are still going fairly strong at the moment,” said Sek. “However, customers are avoiding Granny Smith and Royal Gala at the moment, even those which come from other countries.”
While Washington State is looking at its largest ever crop of apples, port strikes onthe US West Coast, and now a fall in consumer confidence, are proving a challenge for importers.
“The port strikes in US itself was also challenging for us due to delay on shipments, especially since our import permit for apples have an expiry every 6 months, so we have to be really careful that the fruits do not arrive here when our permit has expired."