(June 16, 11:45 a.m.) The Chinese government has granted approval for the shipping of California strawberries to the Summer Olympic Games, Aug. 8-24.

The California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, began talks with the Beijing government last year after a Chinese fruit association released a report revealing world class athletes named strawberries among their top three favorite fruits.

“We are excited and honored to be able to fulfill the athletes’ request for strawberries during the Olympic Games,” strawberry commission president Mark Murai said in a news release.

Consuming the California strawberries will not be exclusive to the athletes. The fruit also will be available to spectators at the Beijing games. The fruit’s bright red color is seen by the Chinese culture as powerful, according to the commission, and the nutritional value of strawberries will help athletes recover from the stress of the Olympic Games, it said.

In 2007, California exported nearly 150 million trays of fresh strawberries to Asia, primarily Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to commission records. The 2007 volume of fresh and frozen strawberries to the three markets approached 24 million pounds, it said.

California strawberries going to Olympics in China
California strawberries will be available to athletes and spectators alike at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.