Fruit importers are putting the finishing touches to new season's strawberry contracts placed with Spanish canners. Reports from the Murcia region confirm that canners have completed their forward contracts and are getting down to production. They are having some problems with growers who have been left with unsold product originally destined for the fresh market. This fruit, larger than the canning specification, has been offered to packers and will no doubt get absorbed in the production programmes, giving what some believe is a superior quality of raw material than normally used. After the recent issues within the Italian tomato industry regarding white lacquered cans, such as cost and integrity, it is interesting to note Spain has been using such a can for some years for strawberry production. The industry has never had any issues as a result of the can, other than consumers appearing to show a preference. Next in line for negotiation will be apricots with Greece indicating a 40% drop in its crop, and Spain also suggesting the inclement weather over the last three weeks may be detrimental to fruit for processing. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}