In a historic step for the California strawberry industry, America’s favorite fruit arrived on Chinese soil for the first time in history on Aug. 5. After receiving approval from Chinese authorities, the California strawberry industry has been readying for the first shipment.

The strawberries were specially harvested on Aug. 2 in preparation for their arrival in China. This initial test shipment will be inspected by the China General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to ensure the fruit meets China’s food safety and quality standards.

California Strawberry Commission President Mark Murai said, “After initial review and quality checks in Beijing, California strawberries will continue to enter the country and will be available throughout the entire Olympic Games.”

The fruit will be prepared by the official caterers who will incorporate this favorite fruit into their menus and served at the Beijing Olympic Village eateries, the U.S.A. House and the U.S. High Performance Center.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I commend China for providing the world’s greatest athletes with healthy diet options and I look forward to a continued dialogue on gaining permanent market access for California grown strawberries. As governor of this great state, I am committed to promoting and will continue to campaign for our world-renowned products and services.”

In November 2005, Gov. Schwarzenegger promoted California trade and tourism, including California strawberries, on a six-day trade mission to China. The 2008 Olympic Games are the first time China has opened its borders to California grown strawberries. The first shipment of 450 pounds of fresh California grown strawberries arrived in Beijing.

Chinese Olympic athletes requested strawberries as one of their top three choices of fruit to eat during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Not grown in China during August and September, California strawberries are the natural choice to meet the athletes’ needs for a high performance diet during the Games.

The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency that represents an industry of more than 500 growers and 60 shippers and processors of California strawberries. With a focus on food safety education, Commission strategies also include production and nutrition research, trade relations, public policy and marketing communications.