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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWEB'S BANANA BUG RUMOR HURTS V.I. IMPORTER

WEB'S BANANA BUG RUMOR HURTS V.I. IMPORTER

What started out a few weeks ago as an urban rumor about bananas on the Internet has grown into a major problem for some U.S. banana importers, including at least one in the Virgin Islands.
A e-mail message began showing up warning consumers of a "flesh-eating parasite" supposedly found in shipments of Central American bananas reaching the U.S. mainland. The message claimed that the effects were so horrible that people should avoid eating the major brands.
For Vincent Richards, an owner of Sam's, a food distributor which brings Central American bananas into the Virgin Islands, it's the message that is causing damage: It's killing his business. "I'm getting constant calls from wholesalers and the supermarkets with concerns based on what they hear from consumers about this parasite," he said.
He added that some wholesalers have grown leery about buying or selling bananas because of the rumor.
According to the e-mail warning, U.S. public health officials know about the "flesh-eating parasite" but have issued no warnings, so as not to cause a public panic.
Richards said there is nothing harmful about the bananas he imports. "There is absolutely no truth to the rumor," he said, adding that he, his family and his friends all continue to eat bananas, with no adverse effects. "I would not allow a questionable product to go on the market in any way, shape or form," he said.
According to Richards, the large banana exporters have their suspicions about why such an industry-threatening rumor might have been started: the international trade war over preferential import treatment for bananas produced by countries affiliated with the European Union over those grown elsewhere.
"I have spoken to my suppliers in Central America, and they have their suspicions," he said, "but nothing is definitive in terms of who and why the rumor was started."
Even the big fruit marketers are being affected, Richards said. "The communications director at Dole also confirmed for me that they are feeling the effects of the rumor, both nationally and internationally," he said, adding that the rumor "has been passed on like a plague, as far as I'm concerned."
There have been no reported cases of any adverse effects caused by banana consumption, regardless of the origin of the product.
To connect to Urban Legends, a web site dedicated to confirming or dispelling all such rumors and "news" circulating on the World Wide Web, click here.
According to the web site information, the parasite story is false.

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What started out a few weeks ago as an urban rumor about bananas on the Internet has grown into a major problem for some U.S. banana importers, including at least one in the Virgin Islands.
A e-mail message began showing up warning consumers of a "flesh-eating parasite" supposedly found in shipments of Central American bananas reaching the U.S. mainland. The message claimed that the effects were so horrible that people should avoid eating the major brands.
For Vincent Richards, an owner of Sam's, a food distributor which brings Central American bananas into the Virgin Islands, it's the message that is causing damage: It's killing his business. "I'm getting constant calls from wholesalers and the supermarkets with concerns based on what they hear from consumers about this parasite," he said.
He added that some wholesalers have grown leery about buying or selling bananas because of the rumor.
According to the e-mail warning, U.S. public health officials know about the "flesh-eating parasite" but have issued no warnings, so as not to cause a public panic.
Richards said there is nothing harmful about the bananas he imports. "There is absolutely no truth to the rumor," he said, adding that he, his family and his friends all continue to eat bananas, with no adverse effects. "I would not allow a questionable product to go on the market in any way, shape or form," he said.
According to Richards, the large banana exporters have their suspicions about why such an industry-threatening rumor might have been started: the international trade war over preferential import treatment for bananas produced by countries affiliated with the European Union over those grown elsewhere.
"I have spoken to my suppliers in Central America, and they have their suspicions," he said, "but nothing is definitive in terms of who and why the rumor was started."
Even the big fruit marketers are being affected, Richards said. "The communications director at Dole also confirmed for me that they are feeling the effects of the rumor, both nationally and internationally," he said, adding that the rumor "has been passed on like a plague, as far as I'm concerned."
There have been no reported cases of any adverse effects caused by banana consumption, regardless of the origin of the product.
To connect to Urban Legends, a web site dedicated to confirming or dispelling all such rumors and "news" circulating on the World Wide Web, click here.
According to the web site information, the parasite story is false.