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Fresno County Cracking Down On Illegal Fruit And Veggie Sales

Fresno County is cracking down on roadside vendors selling fruit and vegetables illegally. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

We’ve all seen them, roadside vendors under umbrellas on country lanes selling strawberries, flowers and even mangoes. The problem is that many times these products are stolen, says Fred Rinder the Fresno County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner.

RINDER: “Businesses abide by the law and these folks don’t. It has an impact on the local businesses that are trying to make a living the legal and right way.”

Rinder led a crackdown in June citing eight vendors and confiscating 2,600 pounds of illegal fruits and veggies. Among the produce were stolen mangoes contaminated with a pest known as the Vanda orchid scale known to harm grapes.

RINDER: “We don’t know where all these mangoes came from and so now there’s this potential hazard of an A-rated pest getting into the Valley.”

Without proof of ownership a vendor’s product is confiscated.  Rinder hopes to complete another sweep in late July. 

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.