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Fact Check

AFP
July 3, 2019

Fact-check: Is this a photo of 'ripe and ready' purple mangoes growing in India?

Fact Check

AFP
Wed, Jul 03, 2019

Two photos of purple mangoes growing on trees have been shared tens of thousands of times in Facebook and Twitter posts that claim they are a hybrid variety grown in northern India “after 10 years of hard work”. 

The claim is false; one of the photos has circulated online since at least 2013 in reports about Palmers mangos, a variety of the fruit developed in Florida, USA, and now widely grown in Brazil; the other has been circulating online for nearly two decades in reports about another US-developed mango variety, the Tommy Atkins.

Multiple Facebook posts were published on June 16, 2018, and shared more than 1,000 times since, contain the two photos of the purple mangoes.

That post has a Hindi-language caption that translates as:

“This is a purple colour mango grown after ten years of hard work with combination of mango and black plum plants. This purple colour mango is ripe and ready in fields of Uttar Pradesh. It will be particularly beneficial for the diabetic patients."

Uttar Pradesh is a north Indian state. Black plums are a tropical fruit also known as jamun; a is a Times of India report said about their supposed health benefits.

Below is a screenshot of one of the misleading posts:

The same photos have been shared with the same claim elsewhere on Facebook, for example in a post dated June 2, 2016, which has been shared more than 60,000 times.

They have also been shared with the same claim on Twitter.

But the mangoes in the photo are not "ripe and ready" in Uttar Pradesh -- both images have circulated online for years in reports about two different American-developed mango varieties.

A reverse image search on Google for the top photo in the misleading posts led to an article which contains the same picture, published on the website of British newspaper The Telegraph on October 10, 2013.

The article is about mango exports from Brazil to the UK. The photo is credited to a photographer called Andre Vieira. 

Its caption says in part: “Purple reign: mango trees at a farm in the state of Pernambuco, in north-east Brazil.”

The article is about the popularity of the purple-skinned Palmer mango and says, in part: "The variety most on show is the large Palmer mango, blushed with a dark, purply red, like a bruised sunset... a Palmer has smooth, perfumed flesh that can survive transportation, and is popular all over this vast country and in export markets."

Below is a screenshot of the Telegraph article:

According to America's National Mango Board, the Palmer mango is a purple-skinned variety of the fruit that was developed in the USA and is now primarily grown in Brazil.

"Originating from Florida in the 1940's, Palmer mangos are widely grown commercial scale in Florida; often harvested immature due to early coloring," the infomation on the NMB website says.

A reverse search on Google for the bottom photo on the misleading post found it has been published repeatedly online since at least 2001 in reports about another American mango variety, the Tommy Atkins:

According to the NMB website: "Hailing originally from Florida, the Tommy Atkins mango is the most widely grown commercial variety coming into the United States."

Below is a screenshot of a website where the photo was published in February 2001. It is the website of a Brazil-based plant nursery, with text in Brazilian Portuguese: