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Fulminating parasites that affect production of tilapia

Veracruz is the main producing state of mojarra-tilapia in Mexico, with activity performed around 639 fish farms in 120 municipalities. For internal consumption, the state demands 15 thousand tons per year. The supply is three thousand, ie, only 20 percent, and the rest is purchased from Chiapas, Tamaulipas and Michoacan and even imported from China and Thailand, according to the Tilapia Production Committee, in Veracruz.

Although tilapia fish provides ideal characteristics for production and represents an excellent economic opportunity for Veracruz, the species faces health problems caused by pests, so farmers constantly see their profits diminished.

The team from the Institute of Ecology (INECOL) led by Dr. Miguel Rubio Godoy studying parasitic worms (called monogeneans) of the genera Gyrodactylus, and Cichlidogyrus neobenedenia seeks to develop vaccines against the first two, as well as pharmaceutical formulations that control these pathogens.

Fish parasitologist, Dr. Rubio Godoy, one of the few specialists in the country aside from doing basic research works directly with mojarra-tilapia producers to identify harmful microorganisms and develop ways to prevent disease in the species.

“We studied the parasites of some fish, for instance, worms of tilapia, eroding their skin and ending up killing them; in particular, we focus the study of Gyrodactylus, which had three generations of bugs in a single organism. It is very abundant and causes many problems in aquaculture farms, especially in the small fish,” said the parasitologist.

Tilapia offers important nutritional properties, as it is a source of essential fatty acids like Omega 3, and higher quality protein than chicken, beef or pork. The slime or mucus is industrially attractive, for obtaining collagen used in the pharmaceutical industry. Even, it is known that the guts are used to produce biodiesel.

The work of Dr. Rubio Godoy contemplates basic research in natural bodies of water where fish are captured and recognized or described when containing parasites; this is important because fish farms often receive water from these water bodies, and wild fish can serve as a source of parasites for farmed fish, or vice versa.

The team also makes studies of the ecology of harmful microorganisms in aquaculture farms, in order to identify what may be the factors influencing the abundance of parasites, for example, temperature or water quality, among others.

“Last year the state government funds supported me to identify parasites affecting aquaculture in the state. With this support on the one hand and molecular epidemiology to recognize precisely parasite strains studies were done; and on the other, we prepared a manual release to farmers, for producers to easily recognize parasites found more frequently and know the basic methods of control. “

“I had to work to convince producers that Gyrodactylus infection is a problem, because they understood as natural the low production at certain times of the year, and now have clearer that fish mortality due to infections caused by parasites.”

Currently, the research team of Dr. Rubio Godoy is working on a nationwide map to identify the parasite Gyrodactylus from around the territory.

“Aquaculture is very important in our country, but should be more, since we have a high production potential. In addition, Mexico fish are the animal group best known from the point of view parasitological, so that a joint effort between farmers and scientists will greatly benefit, “the researcher INECOL.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

US (CA): Water issues could affect some more than others

While drought conditions in California are bad for the entire state, especially the fresh produce industry, some of the state’s growers will likely feel the effects of a water shortage more acutely than others. Depending on growing location and the source of their water, some California growers will have to pay more for the water they need to grow their crops.

“Growers are running into cash flow issues,” said Ken Melban, director of issues management for the California Avocado Commission. “They have to purchase water to irrigate, but there’s not any natural water coming.” A good portion of the industry’s growers from Ventura to San Diego have to buy water to supplement rainfall, and that’s become costly. Higher costs could lead to less production, and that could mean higher prices for the produce that is grown.

“Input costs for growers are escalating right now due to the water situation, but they are price-takers, in that the market determines prices, so they can’t turn around and charge more for their produce,” explained Melban. “But we will see situations where, because of supply and demand, a reduction in supply will lead to higher prices.” Which growers will suffer reductions could, in turn, depend on where they’re located.

“For the most part, well water is the main source of water for strawberry growers in the Wattsonville and Santa Maria areas,” said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director for the California Strawberry Commission. “Those growers that are on wells seem to be doing okay right now, but it will be a concern if dry weather continues for another year.” But growers in Ventura County, who are more dependent on pipe water, will have to adjust their growing based on what the entities who manage that water supply do. While water management is not a new issue, and while the state’s growers have been planning for dry conditions for several years now, some of the state’s growers will definitely feel the lack of water.

“We just have to wait and see what happens,” said O’Donnell. “Especially for those on pipe water.”

Study: Sweetener concerns don’t affect purchase decisions

Consumer concerns about sweeteners are important, but they do not affect purchase decisions, according to research commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association, Washington, and based on data from Nielsen and Mintel Consulting. The research includes a segmentation analysis of 10,000 consumers.


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“Consumers say they avoid specific ingredients, but purchase behavior shows they do not,” Martin Concannon, founder and managing director of consulting firm Lafayette Associates, Alexandria, Va., said Wednesday during the SN webinar “Sweetener 360: An Unprecedented Look at How Consumers Feel about Sweeteners and Why.” It was sponsored by CRA. 

Rather, consumers are influenced more by taste and price, he said.

As a result, “beverage companies would do well to focus on products that satisfy the true needs of their broad base of heavy buyers, rather than stigmatize any type of sweetener as a strategy to build brand loyalty,” Concannon said.

The analysis reveals shoppers who consume sweeteners are divided into six distinct demographic lifestyle segments. Across segments, spending time on sweetened food and beverage products is relatively consistent.

Sara Martens, VP of research firm MSR Group, Omaha, Neb., also presented research findings during the webinar. An archived version of the webinar will be available at within the next week.

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Fast-Food Walkout: Does Worker Well-Being Affect Food Safety?

Thousands of fast-food workers in dozens of U.S. cities are reportedly set to stage a one-day national strike on Thursday to protest the industry’s low wages and predominant lack of basic benefits. Organizations representing restaurant employees say they expect it to be the largest-ever strike within the fast-food industry, which employs an estimated 4 million Americans.

Protest organizers have already held rolling one-day strikes starting this past November in New York, Chicago and Seattle, but Thursday will mark the first nationwide day of protest. Employees are asking for a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour, or the equivalent of $ 31,000 a year working full-time, up from the current federal minimum of $ 7.25, or around $ 15,000 a year full-time.

Raising wages and supplying basic benefits such as paid sick leave would not only boost worker well-being, but directly improve food safety and public health as well, said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC).

In 2010, ROC released a report titled “Serving While Sick,” which surveyed more than 4,000 restaurant workers. The survey found that 88 percent of those workers did not have paid sick days and 63 percent reported cooking and serving food while sick.

In turn, those sick workers have been linked to outbreaks of norovirus, hepatitis A and typhoid fever among customers.

In a similar study, 48 percent of restaurant employees reported working shifts while ill, while 11 percent said they had experienced diarrhea or vomiting during a restaurant shift. Workers who did not have paid sick leave were found to be twice as likely to work while sick compared with their counterparts who did receive paid sick time.

The problem, Jayaraman said, is that restaurant workers simply cannot afford to take time off from work, even if they are severely ill. Of those who worked while sick, 74 percent said they could not afford to take the day off without pay, and 27 percent said they coughed or sneezed while handling food.

“Even if you’ve got hepatitis A, if you’re living on minimum wage or living off your tips and don’t get paid to stay home, you’re going to go to work regardless of your condition,” she told Food Safety News.

Low wages also equate to poor living conditions for fast-food employees, Jayaraman added. A portion of workers report being homeless or home-insecure, meaning that they may not have access to showers or other necessities for personal hygiene.

Restaurants found to have shortchanged employees or committed overtime pay violations were also found more likely than restaurants without labor violations to put the safety of employees and customers at risk.

When asked in an ROC survey if they had ever been pressured to cut corners in a way that might have risked public health, 44 percent of workers who experienced wage violations said yes, while 13 percent of workers at non-violating restaurants did. Similarly, 37 percent of workers at wage-violating restaurants said they did not receive health and safety training, while 17 percent of those without violations did.

President Obama has recently asked Congress raise the federal minimum wage to $ 9 an hour. A July 2013 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 73 percent of Americans favored raising the minimum wage to $ 10.

Those who oppose raising the minimum wage say it would hurt job creation and lead to higher rates of unemployment.

The cities of San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle have ordinances in place that require employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers, including those in the restaurant industry.

Food Safety News

Israel: Heat waves affect herbs

Arava goes for new approach on herbs
Israel: Heat waves affect herbs

Up to now, the summer season has had some challenging obstacles which include high temperatures and basil blackening. The main cause for these issues is heat waves and an early start of the summer (The month of May had already begun with heat waves in Israel). “This resulted in us currently experiencing what we normally see in September. For instance, blackening of Basil and high temperatures upon arrival. Nevertheless, for every downside there is an upside. This year, as opposed to previous years, the changing of the fields will start sooner and offer better availability and quality as early as the month of September onwards,” says Omer Kamp form Arava Export Growers.

Arava Export Growers is currently commissioning new strategies to effectively approach the coming season. Statistics had shown that worldwide consumption for fresh herbs continue to surge with a wider understanding of the potential culinary applications possible for each line from the herb family. Consequently, consumers have taken the approach towards a more conscience buying behaviour which, in other words, means a definite need for better quality and proper traceability.

The marketing staff at Arava, alongside with its growers, have decided to concentrate heavily on some of the basic fundamentals that form an integral part of the herb business. “This step should cover and provide the following: focus on food safety, quality, traceability and accreditation,” says Omer Kamp from Arava Export Growers. Arava also has farms in Serbia, Kenya, Ethiopia, India and, even the Gaza Strip. “We already started on the planning for the winter season.”

Likewise, the understanding that competitive markets demand innovations and flexibility are essential for comprehending the consumer. Therefore, Arava Export Growers is able to offer a wide array of packaging and, at the same time, introduce new products to the market and/or consolidate with Exotics. “We offer for example Salicornia, Edible Flowers, Micro Herbs, Figs, Limequats. Additionally, new Basil varieties which offer higher durability and yield are being tested as well. It is a never ending quest for perfection”, claims Omer Kamp.

“I think it goes without saying that overall, the Herb industry has evolved from what was used to be known as a niche market into a thriving market. The health merits and culinary applications have made fresh herbs common in nearly every household. Our expectations are high for the coming season and as a company we understand the implications involved. Consequently, our reputation, experience, mere size, professionalism and current standing in the market, has placed us as Israel’s largest exporter for Fresh Herbs” he concluded.

For more information:
Omer Kamp
Tel: +972 3 972 8127
Mob: +972 52 53 34 763
[email protected]

Publication date: 8/23/2013