On the 24th of October, 2019, the verdict of the lawsuit from Agrupost against Sanicitrus SL that had been presented for “false advertising and dishonest competition,” was published. This verdict, as we were sure was going to happen, ruled in favor of Sanicitrus SL’s interests by the court in charge of this case, their understanding being that there was neither one fact nor the other.
On December 10th, 2019, after two and a half long years, the verdict was ratified in all of its terms, since it has not been appealed by Agrupost meaning that they accepted it, and thus accepting Sanifruit’s innocence, against what they originally claimed.
Let’s make memory, for those who weren’t aware of Agrupost’s actions.
After the lawsuit was filed, ‘someone’ took charge of alerting the Health Department of the Generalitat Valenciana, so that they may investigate the alleged inclusion of unauthorized substances for its use in post-harvest treatment, always according to Agrupost’s criteria. The health inspectors showed up at Sanifruit to take samples of the reported product. For whatever reason, which we are not aware of, the following day they went back to take another sample. These actions were strange and rather irregular, but they must’ve had their reasons.
In either case did the procedure follow through, since no unauthorized substance had been found, not even the one which was reported, and the dossier was filed without further actions.
Then, the only issue to solve was the resolution of the “false advertising and dishonest competition” lawsuit, the verdict of which was dictated on July of 2018, turning out to be in favor of Sanifruit, as has been already said.
We shall add here that this is the fifth time that the justice system has agreed with us and dismissed Agrupost’s false claims, in similar or even the same terms, always ruling in Sanifruit’s favor.
If, in a regular situation, this is already overboard, in our case it has also turned out to cause great damage to our business since, while the lawsuit was underway -two and a half years this time- our competitors, whom everyone knows are Agrupost’s subsidiaries (Critosol SA, Fomesa Fruitech SL, Decco Iberia SAU, Agrofresh-Tecnidex) have done nothing but spread false claims and lies, telling to all that would listen that our products were ridden with unauthorized substances – and they weren’t just a few who would listen. Their strategy, which undoubtedly pretended to slow down the closure of the lawsuit, logically required that the initial verdict was appealed, in our opinion to earn more time and thus be able to keep spreading false claims and planting doubts among the customers. This last lawsuit has gone on for two campaigns, with the consequent damage dealt to Sanifruit.
Also, apparently as another power move on the lawsuit seeking to create more doubts, Agrupost presented as witnesses representatives of two important fruits & vegetables associations from Murcia and Comunitat Valenciana, we assume to make the matter seem bigger, trying to make their false claims more relevant so that they could keep digging deeper to try and destroy Sanifruit – their original objective.
Neither could give more testimony than their own personal opinion – of course, since we have no record that either of those associations have ever carried out any test or essays on our products, as was credited in the court hearing, despite the fact that they had been offered to perform such tests repeatedly.
It is clear that all these factoids and spreading of lies isn’t more than the usual “throwing mud at the wall, see what sticks” kind of actions, as has been demonstrated with the final ruling of this lawsuit and the ratified verdict.
Sanifruit is a family business, coming from its precursor Biel’s Citrus, and previously from its founder Paco Biel, well known for his good practices and constant work towards providing solutions for the waste-free treatment of citrus fruits during post-harvest, and considered as a role model due to his knowledge by many people and business in the fruits and vegetables sector.
Back in the day when Sanifruit, then Biel’s, was starting their business, Francisco (Paco) Biel saw that the future was in being able to use treatments based off all-natural commodities, non-polluting, that generated no waste. His idea has been proven to be brilliant, as we can see the raise of the so called “zero waste”, “non traite” and bio products, for which the customers ask more and more. As another fact we’d like to add that Paco Biel was the first technical manager of the secong degree Anecoop cooperative group back in the day, which added even more knowledge to what he already knew about the fruits and vegetable sector, particularly fruits, besides leaving his mark of good practice until the moment he decided to follow his own path.
Today, Paco Biel’s children, Javier and Erica, have taken charge of Sanifruit, continuing on their father’s legacy and good practices, employing 17 workers. It’s a small business, but businesses shouldn’t be measured only by how big they are, but by what they give back to society.
The other part is Agrupost, a grouping that declares in Article #2 of their statutes that their objective is to “[…] promote, defend and improve formulated products and their application, for use in post-harvest treatments of fruits and vegetables of its constituents […] adopting conjoined strategies of diffusion, promotion, marketing and advertisement […]” From this text it is obvious that their interest is to “defend the market” and their “interest in the market being whole.” This group, not an association, has a very limited number of members. There’s nothing to say here since a group can do as they wish with the acceptance of all members within, but it’s hardly understandable that they proclaim themselves as protectors of post-harvest treatments. Nevertheless, we’d like to point out that a true association can’t stop someone from joining as long as they meet their requirements. This is why we can identify Agrupost as a group, and not an association.
We find, then, a small business against a group of much bigger businesses, controlling the post-harvest sector. What’s the issue, then? These businesses won’t hesitate when it comes to acting against anyone that they think will bother them: “if we can report them for health issues, and we fail when we try using the law against them, then we will hit them through civil and commercial interests. What matters is that our competitor doesn’t thrive” they must be thinking.
Of course, after this new ruling, nobody will say they’re sorry, or tell the customers that they were wrong in their claims.
After all this, the only thing that’s been shown here is, besides the pettiness of who would act like this, is that they are utterly unaware of what being a healthy, constructive competitor entail. If the only argument they can throw around is to try and discredit either our products or our business itself, it must mean we’re doing something well.
It’s hardly understandable that these businesses, which together have a very high economic potential -over 60 million euros per year, nearly thirty times as much as the business they attacked, which is around 2.5 million euros of turnover from Sanifruit- don’t use the marketing strategies that they have so readily available to carry out these acts ethically. Perhaps they should have used their money on research and development, instead of attacking us.
SaniFruit has always worked hard in researching products that are respectful both with humans and the environment, without waste. Our ultimate objective is to help keep them completely healthy.
In the last months, many “synthetic” products have been outlawed or are about to lose their authorization – products that are usually present in our competitors from Agrupost’s catalogues.
This is, undoubtedly, the definitive backing of Sanifruit’s position, ratifying Paco Biel’s original bid from 30 years ago. This allows us to keep working every day with strengthened spirits. We want to give everyone in the fruits and vegetables sector, not just the citrus one, effective treatments based off all-natural commodities, and completely friendly towards human and environmental health.
As we once said, quoting Don Quixote, “they bark, Sancho; so we ride.”
Despite all that has been said, and since we believe that we must act positively in any market, we’d like to reach out to any association or business that believes they should change their mind about Sanifruit, and we will be readily available to whoever would like to know more about these facts, and provide them with any information they would require to send to their associates or technicians, so that they may know us firsthand, and see if our solutions will help them face the growing requirements of the restrictive European markets regarding fruit health safety and environmental care.
To finish off, we’d also like to reach out to any individual or business who would like to know more about these actions, to prove with hard facts what has been mentioned above. To this effect, we shall soon make available a copy of the resolution in our website www.sanifruit.com; this ruling is also publicly available to whoever would like to know more about it in the link below:
A healthy fruit, without post-harvest waste, is possible!
Manager at Sanicitrus SL – Sanifruit