SoCal cracks down on fraud at farmers markets

The Santa Monica Farmers Market has become a go-to destination for rare ingredients from around the world.
The Santa Monica Farmers Market has become a go-to destination for rare ingredients from around the world. KPCC

Ever wonder if something's rotten at your farmers market?

Maybe those pricey locally grown mangos are actually commercial imports from South America.

The Los Angeles Times says officials have cracked down this past year on vendors who don't produce the fruits and vegetables they sell — which violates state law.

Violators can be fined $1,000 and banned from the markets for up to 18 months.

This year, 20 vendors were fined in Los Angeles County. San Diego County sanctioned five.

Inspectors look for tipoffs such as fruits that have a commercial appearance or are out of season.

It's a costly program, though. LA County, which has 153 farmers markets, spent $243,000 during the fiscal year that ended in June. That's three times what the county made on market fees.

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