Human organs, exotic pets, drugs--those are types of things we think of when someone says black market trade. In Sweden, they trade in illicit foreign strawberries. "We have taken a few samples and they’re on the way to Germany for analysis," Waldemar Ibron, an official at the Swedish Board of Agriculture told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. Ibron is referring to an ongoing epidemic in Sweden where foreign strawberries are being repackaged and sold at markets for cheap--underselling local farmers and growers. And yeah, German strawberry genetic testing seems like a gross (and adorable) over-reaction that you wouldn't see any where else in the world, it's worth knowing that strawberries and Strawberry Season are very big deals in Sweden. "In a survey of consumers in Southern Sweden from 2009, over 90 percent of the respondents said that 'they, or someone in their household, had bought strawberries by late June.'" reports Serious Eats' Robyn Lee. "Sweden meets the demands by harvesting about 15,000,000 kilograms of strawberries a year, or three to four liters per person in Sweden," she adds.
Which means undercutting farmers is a serious offense. "On Tuesday, you could buy strawberries imported from Germany for eight kronor [around $1.13] per liter. Then you can consider if it is pure black trade," a concerned strawberry consumer told the Dagens Nyheter paper. Real Swedish strawberries go for about 11 kronor ($1.56) reports The Local--a figure which adds up for local growers. There is a silver lining for those who want to support their local Swedish strawberry farmer though, as The Local explains: "Repackaged foreign berries will usually only say 'Swedish berries' on them, whereas true Swedish berries will have details about origin, class, and who has produced them."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.