A group of U.S retailers, including representatives of Sam's Club and Raley's, recently toured Chile's fruit orchards, and inspecting and exporting operations.

The trip, sponsored by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and Chile's fruit exporting organization, ASOEX, was designed to educate retailers about the exporting process.

According to a news release, the group visited orchards, vinyards, packinghousese, grocery stores and the Port of Valparaiso. Tour members also visited a new U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection site in Teno. The USDA facility is one of two new inspection sites, bringing the total to five in Chile. Inspectors check the fruit before it's loaded on ships and airplanes to ensure it is pest-free.

U.S. retailers visit Chilean fruit operations

Courtesy Chilean Fresh Fruit Association

Representatives of U.S. retailers visit a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection facility in Teno, Chile, as part of a tour of Chilean fruit production and export areas. The group included Dominic Viglione (from left), produce buyer for BJ's Wholesale Club INc.; Fernando Balart, marketing liaison for Chilean exporters association (ASOEX); Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for North America for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association; Steven Oates, produce director for Sunflower Markets; Jeffrey Pederson, vice president of merchandising and marketing for Associated Wholesale Grocers; and Jonathan Holder, senior manager of produce for Raley's Family of Fine Stores.