(Sept. 28) Ginger prices have shot up but garlic prices are steady in the wake of a disruption in exports of those commodities from China.

China, fearing additional backlash in the wake of numerous food-safety scandals, announced in August it was reducing garlic and ginger exports to the U.S. until a more strenuous food safety protocol could be implemented.

Ginger shipments from China stopped in mid-August, and it’s anyone’s guess when they’ll resume, said Robert Schueller, public relations director for World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles, which markets product under the Melissa’s brand name.

“It’s been over a month, and there’s been no word,” he said. “Everything’s kind of in the unknown.”

With China out of the picture for the time being, World Variety has been sourcing its ginger from Brazil, Hawaii and Costa Rica, Schueller said. Still, that hasn’t been enough to completely fill the gap, he said. And that’s having a direct effect on price.

On Sept. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $42 for 30-pound cartons of ginger root sold on the San Francisco terminal market, up from $22 last year at the same time.

Schueller said he expected the ginger ban to be temporary, but he couldn’t be certain of that or of China’s ability to come up with a food safety protocol acceptable to U.S. importers.

In July, Christopher Ranch LLC, Gilroy, Calif., stopped distributing fresh Chinese ginger after finding pesticide residues from a product not approved for use on ginger.

Brazilian ginger has been selling for about three times what Chinese ginger costs, said Christopher Ranch co-owner Bill Christopher. Chinese ginger shipments could resume as soon as late October or as late as Christmas, Christopher said.

Karen Caplan, president and chief operating officer of Frieda's Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., said her company has been unaffected — directly, at least — by the reduction in garlic exports from China. The company sources its garlic exclusively from California and Chile, Caplan said.

Since China’s announcement, prices for California-grown garlic had gone up as much 40%, but Chinese garlic has stayed about the same, said Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce LLC, West Grove, Pa.

California garlic prices had stabilized by the end of September. On Sept. 26, the USDA reported a price of $41 for 30-pound cartons of California garlic sold on the San Francisco terminal market, about the same as last year at the same time.