Bananas seized while rotting at docks
Agriculture Secretary Ramón González Beiró
By THE STAR STAFF
Agriculture Secretary Ramón González Beiró confirmed Wednesday that the agency had to order the seizure of more than 6,000 boxes of bananas from Costa Rica after the fruit had rotted waiting to leave the dock.
The spoiled cargo represents about half a million bananas that could not reach the hands of consumers.
“137,000 boxes of bananas have already been distributed, but of the cargo that arrived to us, half of the containers had insects and had to be fumigated for the federal government to allow us to disembark,” the official said in a radio interview. “And having the situation of the insects and the little capacity of fumigation, then that caused the delay in the transporting of the bananas and when the process was completed, already over 6,500 boxes were no longer suitable for consumption.”
González Beiró blamed the company supplying the bananas for what happened, and gave assurances that the corresponding claims had already been made to the importer.
“The responsibility lies with the supplier,” he said. “It is assumed that this [shipment] came with a certificate that they did not have pests, they are aware of the situation and this will not mean losses to the treasury.”
The shipment of bananas began arriving in Puerto Rico on Dec. 3, 2022 with the first 35 containers.
The Agriculture Department estimated the importation of about 335 containers with a total of 367,830 40-pound boxes, which came from the Limón province in Costa Rica. The source farms were inspected by a plant pathologist from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.
González Beiró said that by Dec. 22, it was federal agencies that were stopping the importation of the product, to the tune of about 62 containers.