Blog Archives

Kroger announces retirement of Bill Breetz, names three new division presidents

The Kroger Co. announced the retirement of Houston division President Bill Breetz and the promotion of Marlene Stewart to succeed him. Stewart currently serves as president of the company’s Dillons division.

Colleen Juergensen, who currently serves as vice president of merchandising of the Smith’s division, will succeed Stewart as president of Dillons.krolog

Kroger also announced the promotion of Pam Matthews to serve as president of the company’s QFC division. Matthews currently serves as vice president of operations for Kroger’s Delta division. She succeeds Dennis Gibson, who was recently named president of the King Soopers/City Market division.

“Kroger has an exceptionally strong team of leaders who are fueling our growth and improving our connection with customers,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Marlene, Colleen and Pam bring unmatched depth and experience to their new roles. They will help Kroger continue to make a difference for our customers, associates, and communities — and by doing so create value for our shareholders.”

“Bill’s extraordinary career demonstrates a passion for people and a passion for results. He leads by caring deeply about associates and developing future leaders,” said McMullen. “Bill’s leadership has contributed to Kroger’s success and growth. The entire Kroger family thanks Bill for his many contributions over the years and wishes he and his family all the best in retirement.”

Breetz began his Kroger career in 1972 as a bagger in Louisville, KY. After earning a degree at the University of Louisville in 1977, he joined the management training program and was named a co-manager in Cincinnati. He served in several leadership positions through the years, including store and district management and vice president of merchandising for the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2000, Breetz was promoted to executive vice president of Kroger’s Southwest division with responsibility for operations in Dallas. In 2001, he assumed responsibility for operations in Houston as well. He was named president of the Southwest division in 2002, and president of the Houston division in 2015.

Breetz has been active in a variety of community organizations throughout his career, most recently supporting the Houston Food Bank, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Boy Scouts of America, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other local charities. Breetz and his wife, Jo Ann, have three children and three grandchildren.

Stewart started her career with Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the company’s Cincinnati division, where she worked full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati. She went on to serve in many leadership roles in Cincinnati, including store and district management, training and merchandising. In 2005, Stewart was named director of operations for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division before being named vice president of operations in 2007. She was named vice president of merchandising in the company’s QFC division in 2011. She was named to her current role in 2015.

Juergensen began her Kroger career with the Dillons division in 1981. She served in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility including store manager, zone manager and director of advertising. In 2008, she was promoted to Dillons vice president of operations. She was named vice president of operations of Smith’s in 2012, and to her current role in 2015.

Matthews began her career with the company’s Fred Meyer division, based in Portland, OR, in 1980. Throughout her 25-year career with Fred Meyer, she held a variety of leadership roles in store management, corporate brand development and merchandising. Matthews also served as director of deli/bakery merchandising and director of floral merchandising and procurement at Kroger’s general offices in Cincinnati before being promoted to vice president of merchandising for the Central division in 2006. She was named vice president of merchandising for the Delta Division in 2014 and to her current role in 2015.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Letter From the Editor: A Year After Bill Keene’s Passing

It was a year ago that we lost Dr. Bill Keene, Oregon’s senior state epidemiologist, to acute pancreatitis at age 56. We missed him in 2014. He was posthumously awarded the 2014 NSF Food Safety Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award last April in Baltimore.

Keene was a guy who did his job with passion and humor. He was never limited by somebody else’s expectations. He was a dogged and determined investigator who was usually thinking outside the box.

We shared an interest in history. He had a foodborne illness museum in his office. When I published a list of the deadly foodborne illness outbreaks in history, he began helping me fine-tune it.

I was invited to speak to the California’s environmental health officers in Sacramento, and, as I was being introduced, my phone went off. It was Keene, who had discovered that we had overlooked a deadly outbreak that occurred nearly 100 year ago in Chicago. My audience did not mind waiting a moment so I could make the addition, and more than one explained it to others by saying, “Bill Keene’s talking to him before we get started.”

Bill traveled and was both known to his colleagues and open with the media. It got me thinking about where we are with state health departments. Because of the late Bill Keene and the extraordinary efforts of “Team Diarrhea,” conventional wisdom for several years was that Oregon and Minnesota were tops in capacity to combat foodborne illnesses.

Well, maybe it’s time to re-think the conventional wisdom. The second National Health Security Preparedness Index, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), is out. The index measures how prepared state health departments are to handle emergencies, but it looks at the capacities in such detail that it can also be used to compare specific items for many functions.

For example, many of the items that we think are important to food-safety investigations fall under the Index’s “health security surveillance” section. That’s where they note the number of state epidemiologists per 100,000 population and whether state public health labs are tied into certain data and management systems.

On these surveillance measures, the top performers for 2014 were South Carolina, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts and Hawaii. There are several other parts of the Index, including incident and information management, healthcare delivery, national preparedness level, countermeasure management and community planning and engagement.

When I first learned of the Preparedness Index, I thought it might be one of those designed to give every state a star for something, but it does end up with a range of performances and there is a lot of information for comparing one state to another. When all measurements are tallied, the Index has Utah, New York and Virginia on top.

It’s not the end-all, or even enough to cause me to think that Oregon and Minnesota are not still the best. That’s because being the best is not just about the assets kept in the barn, but the experience that’s available once the fire alarm goes off.  That’s why Bill Keene was so good at what he did.

What’s good is that ASTHO is willing to come up with measurements and come up with a way to spur more competition by the states. We’d like to see future reports specifically address outbreaks of disease as just as much of a preparedness challenge as a storm or a plane crash.

And what would be especially nice to see following my musings on the new Index report would be your thoughts on the subject. Which one or two states do you think are best at investigating foodborne illness outbreaks and why?

Food Safety News

Spending Bill Bans ‘Chinese Chicken’ From Federal Meal Programs

A provision included in the $ 1.1-trillion spending bill Congress passed last week and which is now headed to the president’s desk prevents poultry processed in China from being used in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program (Section 736 of Division A).

Four Chinese poultry-processing plants have been approved to export cooked chicken to the U.S. as long as the chicken was raised and slaughtered in the U.S., Canada or Chile.

The ban on including such products in federal meal programs was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and cosponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). Both are members of the House Appropriations Committee and added the amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill last spring.

Congressional leaders included the provision in the omnibus spending bill that funds the federal government through Sept. 30, 2015, the end of FY 2015.

“Banning Chinese chicken from school meals is a common-sense step to protect our kids,” DeLauro said in a statement. “China’s food safety record is atrocious, yet last year USDA deemed poultry processed in China to be as safe as poultry processed here. Children are among the most susceptible to foodborne illness. We cannot take unnecessary risks with their health.”

Nancy Huehnergarth told Food Safety News that she and Bettina Siegel, co-sponsors of a Change.org petition to keep poultry processed in China off U.S. plates, were relieved to see the provision carry over into the omnibus bill.

“We’re really happy,” Huehnergarth said. “It’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

In garnering nearly 329,000 signatures, the petition showed strong grassroots support for the ban. The team plans to declare victory once the president signs the bill, which he has indicated he plans to do.

China, on the other hand, is not so pleased because of provisions in the U.S. bill that “discriminate against Chinese companies, violate the principles of fair trade and send the wrong signal,” International Business Times reported. In addition to the poultry ban, the bill also restricts purchase of IT systems produced in China.

“China urges U.S. to take effective measures to correct the erroneous practice and create a favorable environment for the healthy development of Sino-US economic and trade relations,” stated Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Sun Jiwen.

Food Safety News

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Whole Foods names Bill Jordan its Rocky Mountain region president

Whole Foods Market has named Bill Jordan its president of the Rocky Mountain region, effective immediately.

“Bill has been an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market for many years, and we’re so glad that he is now leading our Rocky Mountain region,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in a press release. “He’s the embodiment of everything a Whole Foods Market team member should be, and we know he’ll do a great job growing our business in the region.”wfodoBill Jordan

Previously, Jordan served as regional vice president of Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific region for the past 16 years. Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region includes stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, and the company announced its first store in El Paso, TX, last week on its fourth quarter earnings call.

“I’m honored and excited to join Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain region as regional president,” said Jordan. “My career at Whole Foods Market began in 1985 as a courtesy clerk in Sherman Oaks, California, and it’s been an incredible 29-year ride. I love our company and our mission as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store. I am grateful for the team members I served and supported in our Southern Pacific region and am looking forward to building the same bonds in the Rocky Mountain region.

“My role and commitment — day in and day out — is focused on empowering our teams and stores to innovate, create and serve our customers and supplier partners with passion and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region has a rich history of shining a spotlight on our missions and everything that’s best about Whole Foods Market. The region led the company in Local Producer Loans given to small producers, our cashiers and customers consistently raise incredible amounts of money to support the Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation, and we have an inspiring number of team member volunteers who apply to serve in communities around the world on Whole Planet Foundation service trips. It’s an exciting time to be joining the region and I’m thrilled to be helping it grow and prosper.”

Jordan is passionate about his family and most enjoys time spent with loved ones. Some of his best and earliest memories center around his grandparents’ table, where large, Italian dinners of homemade meals brought people together in celebration of food and family. He is an avid boater, camper and music enthusiast, and is based at Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Boulder, CO.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Moroccan clementine quality is up, says Lange’s Bill Weyland

A joint effort to boost the quality of Moroccan clementines is apparent this fall, according to Bill Weyland, vice president of Tom Lange Co. International, based in Springfield, IL.

Producers, packers, exporters and the Moroccan government have cooperated to “implement new control processes to export product from Morocco with higher quality than past years,” Weyland said Nov. 17.weylandAt the Tom Lange Co. booth at the PMA Fresh Summit in October were Bre Engel, marketing and operations assistant, Bill Weyland, vice president, and Becky Wilson, vice president of operations.

Lange’s first Moroccan clementine arrival this fall was Nov. 7, which was two or three weeks later than previous years. The extra time for fruit maturity heightened the Brix and external color, Weyland said, adding, “The quality is quite good.”

Weyland has been involved with importing Moroccan clementines since 2002. He joined Tom Lange when the company’s office in Woodbridge, NJ, was opened six years ago, and he created and has handled Lange’s clementine import program since then.

Like the industry in general, most of Lange’s wintertime clementine imports will be packed in five-pound boxes. But in December, January and February, Lange will also be packing Lange’s “Seven Seas” brand in bags.

Weyland prefers handling Moroccan clementines to similar fruit from Spain for a couple of reasons. First, he said, “We have very good, long-term grower partnerships there. And Morocco has a number of varietals and so they are able to change varieties at optimum times so we can really get a good piece of fruit to the marketplace.”

Morocco’s clementine production is down 40 percent this year because that crop is an alternate-bearing producer, and last season saw a large crop. Furthermore, some heat damage reduced this year’s crop.

“So, in the latter part of the season, we will have less exportable volume,” he said. “We believe we will have late varietals into March.”

This fruit imported by Lange comes from southern Morocco’s scenic and historic Souss Valley.

In May, Lange’s summer citrus program will start with Chile, followed by Peru.

“We are looking into opportunities to expand into Uruguay,” said Weyland.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Moroccan clementine quality is up, says Lange’s Bill Weyland

A joint effort to boost the quality of Moroccan clementines is apparent this fall, according to Bill Weyland, vice president of Tom Lange Co. International, based in Springfield, IL.

Producers, packers, exporters and the Moroccan government have cooperated to “implement new control processes to export product from Morocco with higher quality than past years,” Weyland said Nov. 17.weylandAt the Tom Lange Co. booth at the PMA Fresh Summit in October were Bre Engel, marketing and operations assistant, Bill Weyland, vice president, and Becky Wilson, vice president of operations.

Lange’s first Moroccan clementine arrival this fall was Nov. 7, which was two or three weeks later than previous years. The extra time for fruit maturity heightened the Brix and external color, Weyland said, adding, “The quality is quite good.”

Weyland has been involved with importing Moroccan clementines since 2002. He joined Tom Lange when the company’s office in Woodbridge, NJ, was opened six years ago, and he created and has handled Lange’s clementine import program since then.

Like the industry in general, most of Lange’s wintertime clementine imports will be packed in five-pound boxes. But in December, January and February, Lange will also be packing Lange’s “Seven Seas” brand in bags.

Weyland prefers handling Moroccan clementines to similar fruit from Spain for a couple of reasons. First, he said, “We have very good, long-term grower partnerships there. And Morocco has a number of varietals and so they are able to change varieties at optimum times so we can really get a good piece of fruit to the marketplace.”

Morocco’s clementine production is down 40 percent this year because that crop is an alternate-bearing producer, and last season saw a large crop. Furthermore, some heat damage reduced this year’s crop.

“So, in the latter part of the season, we will have less exportable volume,” he said. “We believe we will have late varietals into March.”

This fruit imported by Lange comes from southern Morocco’s scenic and historic Souss Valley.

In May, Lange’s summer citrus program will start with Chile, followed by Peru.

“We are looking into opportunities to expand into Uruguay,” said Weyland.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Moroccan clementine quality is up, says Lange’s Bill Weyland

A joint effort to boost the quality of Moroccan clementines is apparent this fall, according to Bill Weyland, vice president of Tom Lange Co. International, based in Springfield, IL.

Producers, packers, exporters and the Moroccan government have cooperated to “implement new control processes to export product from Morocco with higher quality than past years,” Weyland said Nov. 17.weylandAt the Tom Lange Co. booth at the PMA Fresh Summit in October were Bre Engel, marketing and operations assistant, Bill Weyland, vice president, and Becky Wilson, vice president of operations.

Lange’s first Moroccan clementine arrival this fall was Nov. 7, which was two or three weeks later than previous years. The extra time for fruit maturity heightened the Brix and external color, Weyland said, adding, “The quality is quite good.”

Weyland has been involved with importing Moroccan clementines since 2002. He joined Tom Lange when the company’s office in Woodbridge, NJ, was opened six years ago, and he created and has handled Lange’s clementine import program since then.

Like the industry in general, most of Lange’s wintertime clementine imports will be packed in five-pound boxes. But in December, January and February, Lange will also be packing Lange’s “Seven Seas” brand in bags.

Weyland prefers handling Moroccan clementines to similar fruit from Spain for a couple of reasons. First, he said, “We have very good, long-term grower partnerships there. And Morocco has a number of varietals and so they are able to change varieties at optimum times so we can really get a good piece of fruit to the marketplace.”

Morocco’s clementine production is down 40 percent this year because that crop is an alternate-bearing producer, and last season saw a large crop. Furthermore, some heat damage reduced this year’s crop.

“So, in the latter part of the season, we will have less exportable volume,” he said. “We believe we will have late varietals into March.”

This fruit imported by Lange comes from southern Morocco’s scenic and historic Souss Valley.

In May, Lange’s summer citrus program will start with Chile, followed by Peru.

“We are looking into opportunities to expand into Uruguay,” said Weyland.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Raw Milk Bill Brought Back in America’s Dairy State

Buoyed by the partial acquittal of Sauk County raw milk producer Vernon Hershberger, a Wisconsin state senator is going to try again to make it legal to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products in the Diary State.

West Bend Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman has dropped a bill into the Wisconsin Legislature that would allow limited sales of raw milk and raw milk products, which he claims are recommended by nutritionists and chiropractors for health benefits.

“Unfortunately, there is a law on the books where technically it’s still illegal to sell raw milk in the state of Wisconsin,” says Grothman. His bill would permit the sale of unpasteurized milk from farms registered with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The same farms would sell buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese made with raw milk.

Grothman’s bill, which won’t go to a public hearing until Fall, would allow on the farm sales directly to consumers, but would continue to ban retail sales in stores or farmer’s markets.

A dairy farm that sells raw milk directly to consumers would risk losing their license. The Grothman bill sets up an exemption to that possibility by allowing those interested in selling raw milk to register with DATCP.

The Senator claims farms that register will be under the same requirements, as they would normally have for producing grade A milk regarding cleanliness, temperature, and other safety requirements.

The bill also sets up criteria for clean containers, proper labeling, a posted sign, and compliance with all state rules. As Wisconsin is the nation’s largest dairy state, Grothman will face strong opposition by the multi-billion dollar pasteurized milk industry, which claims raw milk’s frequent outbreaks gives their product a bad name.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition say it is impossible to make raw milk safe. The Wisconsin Legislature passed a raw milk bill in 2010, but former Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it. Attempts by Grothman and others since then to permit raw milk have since failed to go anywhere. A task force appointed by Doyle outlined what it would take to make raw milk both safe and legal in Wisconsin, but Grothman has ignored those stiffer requirements and other raw milk advocates.

Scott Walker, the current governor, has indicated he could sign a raw milk bill with sufficient safe guards in it. Unlike most state legislatures in the Midwest, the Wisconsin Legislature meets periodically throughout the year.

Food Safety News

White House Threatens to Veto House Ag Appropriations Bill

The Obama administration said on Tuesday it would likely veto the House agriculture appropriations bill, just as versions of the funding provisions are moving through both the House and Senate.

“The bill severely undermines key investments in financial oversight in a manner that would cripple Wall Street reform, and impedes implementation of statutorily-mandated financial regulations,” the statement of administration policy stated. “It also imposes harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, agricultural research, and international food aid. Investing in these areas is critical to the Nation’s economic growth, security, and global competitiveness. If the President were presented with H.R. 2410, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

The administration issued a few pages of reasons, including a handful related to food safety:

- The Administration urges the Congress to fund school meal equipment competitive grants, which would help school districts purchase the equipment needed to serve healthier meals, improve food safety, expand access to meals, and improve energy efficiency.
-The Administration opposes the funding level for FSIS. In addition to a nearly $ 10 million reduction from the President’s Budget request, the Committee bill forces FSIS to absorb $ 9 million in rental costs by not providing the necessary funding. These cuts will significantly impact USDA’s ability to adequately inspect food processing plants and prevent foodborne diseases from contaminating America’s meat, poultry, and egg product supply. Over 80 percent of FSIS’s employees are frontline inspectors and the Committee’s recommendation may require the agency to furlough. Decreased FSIS inspections will disrupt industry production.
-The Administration urges the House to include the requested $ 155 million to fully fund a high priority poultry biosafety and laboratory facility. State-of-the-art research facilities to replace USDA’s aging laboratory infrastructure are key to the Department’s ability to meet research challenges of the 21st Century.
-The Administration appreciates reinstatement of the Federal ban on horse slaughter and looks forward to working with the Congress to complete work on this important legislation.
-The Administration strongly supports robust funding for FDA to continue implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and to modernize regulatory science to support medical product innovation. The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill provides $ 4.3 billion in total resources for FDA, which is $ 342 million below the President’s request, and does not include new proposed user fees. The Administration urges the Congress to enact new user fees proposed in the FY 2014 Budget, which would provide significant additional resources to enhance FDA regulatory capacity, as well as provide benefits to industry, advance the Nation’s food safety system, and continue implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. While the Administration appreciates the funding to continue the development of the FDA Life Sciences/Biodefense laboratory in White Oak, Maryland, the overall reductions in budget authority will limit FDA’s ability to oversee the safety and quality of Nation’s food and medical products and threaten the agency’s ability to improve and maintain FDA’s other critical facilities.

Public health groups have not expressed concerns about the House proposal. As Food Safety News reported, some interests even praised the committee for giving FDA a $ 27 million increase.

Food Safety News

Is Bill Gates buying up farms in Vidalia? Documents and growers link Microsoft founder to recent sales

VIDALIA, GA — It has been rumored and discussed on the streets here for months that the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or Cascade Investment LLC, the Gates’ private trust located in Kirkland, WA, is actively seeking to purchase producing farms in the Vidalia area, renowned for its sweet onions and the center of that industry.

Already, two entities — Coggins Farms in Lake Park, GA, and more recently Stanley Farms and its subsidiaries in Lyons, GA — have been sold and, while the trail is murky, documents and interviews with other Vidalia-area growers link the purchases to Kirkland and seemingly to Gates.Gates-1Vidalia, GA, produces the most famous onion in the world. What growers here want to know is why Bill Gates seemingly wants to be in the sweet onion business — and why he apparently does not want that fact widely known. (Photo by Chip Carter)

The Produce News recently obtained a copy of a letter written by Stanley Farms General Manager Vince Stanley to vendors and suppliers dated Oct. 1 and headlined, “Re: Change of Ownership.” An included W-9 IRS form showed that while the business name of the operation is Stanley Produce Georgia LLC, the owner is the Mt. Hood Administration Trust, with a listed address of a post office box in Kirkland. There is no readily available information on the trust.

Stanley wrote, “On Oct. 1, Stanley Produce Georgia LLC purchased the interests of [Stanley Farms subsidiaries] Vidalia Valley, Manning Farms and Vidalia Onion Farms. Please accept this letter as notice of such a change. The Stanley Family wants to personally let you, our valued customer, know that the entire staff you have come to rely on will 100 percent stay in place and will only add quality folks to better serve you!”

One visitor to the Stanley Farms Facebook page posted two questions about the sale, the second of which read, “Is or has Bill Gates already bought your farm business via Cascade Investments…? Seems he already bought Coggins Farms awhile back.”

Neither post had received a reply as of Oct. 13, when The Produce News‘ queries regarding the sale began; by mid-day Oct. 14, both posts had been removed.

The Produce News contacted the Gates Foundation, Cottonwood AG (based in Naperville, IL and thought to be an agricultural assets management operation for Gates’ interests) and others Oct. 13, but there were no replies to requests for information or interviews.

Derek Yurosek of Cottonwood AG, whose name has been mentioned by several Vidalia growers as a participant in some of the proceedings and whose LinkedIn profile shows a Kirkland address, forwarded The Produce News‘ email seeking information to several other Cottonwood AG email addresses and others from Los Arboles Management LLC, which also has a listed address of a post office box in Kirkland, albeit a different one. His message atop the email simply read, “Please do not respond.” It is unclear whether Yurosek intended to copy The Produce News on that email.

While the Gates connection is still just rumor to some, others claim more intimate knowledge of the dealings.

“I’ve actually met with them,” said one well-placed grower who asked to remain anonymous.

Gates’ agricultural interests are well-known. He has been an active and ongoing crusader in developing countries, helping provide locals with means of improving subsistence farming operations.

What everyone in Vidalia would like to know is why Gates seemingly wants to be in the sweet onion business — and why he apparently does not want that fact widely known if that is indeed the case.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.