Counterfeit Unifrutti lemons seized in China

In another example that even relatively low-cost goods are vulnerable to counterfeiting, customs officers in China have seized more than two tonnes of lemons that violated trademarks held by fruit giant Unifrutti.

The knock-offs had counterfeit labels and wrapping claiming they were produced by Unifrutti and were being shipped in cardboard cases that also bore the company’s logo and other trademarked insignia.

The shipment – which also included a smaller quantity (400kg) of peaches that weren’t listed on the manifest – was seized in Shekou Port in Shenzhen, China, and was bound for Bahrain. It was shipped by a company based in Qingdao, according to

It’s the second seizure of fake Unifrutti lemons at the port in a matter of months. In April, 3,200 cartons of counterfeit lemons were discovered at the sane port, leading to a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Chinese company that shipped them. Unifruitti was awarded undisclosed damages in a judgment on that case in June.

Last year, Unifrutti warned that counterfeit lemons were being distributed by at least one company in China, adding that it “as not either produced, packed, nor exported – and will not export – lemons, citrics or any other fruit from China during 2019.”

It has been exporting lemons from China in 2020, but the only company authorised to export any product from China with the Unifrutti brand is its subsidiary Unifrutti Shanghai, and “any other offer from any other company is illegal and will be legally pursued as such.”

A report on says that the company has been aware of domestic distribution of counterfeits in China for years, but didn’t take action until it increasingly came across the fakes being exported to other markets around the world, including Europe.

The fakes undercut the genuine fruit on price, and may not meet the maximum reside levels (MRLs) for substances like pesticides. Unifrutti has now registered its brand with Chinese customs to make it easier to intercept illicit exports.

Photo by Bannon Morrissy on Unsplash

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