Mon., May 9, 2011 3:07pm (EDT)

State Cracks Down On Fake Vidalias
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 3 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Vidalia onions (image courtesy UGA CAES)
Vidalia onions (image courtesy UGA CAES)
It’s harvest season for Georgia’s state vegetable and state agriculture officials say they are busy protecting the reputation of the Vidalia onion.

State inspectors are checking packing houses to keep regular onions from being packed, shipped and sold as Vidalias. Federal rules mandate that the uniquely-sweet Vidalia can only be grown in 20 Georgia counties. State agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says inspectors recently found problems that could result in thousands of dollars in fines.

“Vidalia onions and other yellow or sweet Texas brand onions cannot be packed in the same facility unless it has a very rigorous ability to lock up one set of material and you don’t run them, don’t run product at the same time.”

Black says the Vidalia is a 115-million dollar crop and creates thousands of jobs.