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US Foods announces changes to board of directors

US Foods Holding Corp. announced that Timothy R. McLevish has resigned effective immediately from his position on the board of directors after it was announced that he will become the executive chairman of Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. upon the completion of its planned spinoff. Because Lamb Weston is a significant supplier to US Foods, McLevish would no longer qualify as an independent director.

The company also announced the election of two new members of the board of directors

David Tehle retired in 2015 as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Dollar General Corp., a role he had held since 2004. Prior to Dollar General, he was chief financial officer of Haggar Corp. He is currently on the board of directors for Genesco and serves on the board of directors of Jack in the Box as an audit committee member and finance committee chair. Tehle will serve as the new chairman of the audit committee for US Foods.

Court Carruthers spent 13 years in senior leadership roles at W. W. Grainger Inc., most recently as group president, Americas, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in the Americas, as well as eCommerce and technology innovation globally. He is currently a director and audit committee member of Ryerson Holding Corp. and serves on the board of multiple private companies, including Follett Corp. Carruthers is a CPA, CMA (Canada).

“We wish Tim all of the best in his new endeavor,” Pietro Satriano, president and chief executive officer of US Foods, said in a press release. “I’m pleased to welcome David and Court to the Board. Both bring public company and audit experience, as well as a wealth of business and finance expertise.”

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

Group changes name to National Co+op Grocers

The National Cooperative Grocers Association said Tuesday it is changing its name to National Co+op Grocers to better represent its role as a business-services cooperative.

The group, founded in 1999 and based in Iowa City, Iowa, said it has 143 members and associate co-ops operating more than 190 units in 38 states with combined annual sales exceeding $ 1.7 billion.

“NCG is not a typical trade association, which often focuses on public relations, marketing and network services for its members,” said CEO Robynn Shrader. “We do provide these services, but we also negotiate purchasing contracts, execute national promotional strategies and offer a wide range of development services.


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“Although the name, look and feel is new, our commitment to being a dynamic and transparent organization with clear and meaningful ways for our co-ops to participate remains the same. Our role is really more that of a virtual grocery chain.

“Whether advocating for food policies in Washington D.C. or helping the banking community understand the cooperative business model, identifying as National Co+op Grocers helps us better reflect our relationship to our coops and our shared purpose.”

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Passion changes everything

As a health and wellness consultant I have had the honor to work with thousands of people over the years. Many of them are leading incredibly busy lives juggling a family while working one or two jobs, taking care of a home, pets and if there is time at the end of the day, taking care of themselves.

After getting to know personalities, seeing negative work environments, noticing extremely hectic schedules, and even witnessing tears (much more often than you would think), I conclude many aren’t overwhelmingly happy. In fact they are downright stressed, which leads to unhappiness.

When trying to live a healthy lifestyle, most people focus on diet and exercise, but rarely take into account the destructive forces of stress and unhappiness.

“Be aware when you are doing something you love. It is biochemically impossible to be stressed and feel grateful at the same time.” Dr. Libby Weaver, PhD.

I am eternally grateful for my career and the opportunities that I have been given. I truly LOVE what I do for a living, which is to educate, inspire, and empower people to lead a healthy lifestyle. It rarely feels like “work.” It’s incredibly rewarding to help people help themselves, one baby step or one giant step at a time. Lives transform before me. For that, I am grateful everyday. It makes me a better mother, wife and person.

But, it wasn’t always this way. I remember crying in the shower on the rock bottom day of my previous career. That day, my sadness was very real physical pain. I paused and asked myself “Why are you doing this to yourself? STOP!” The pain and stress to compensation ratio was not worth it. Then I asked myself, “What am I passionate about?” Answer: Living a healthy lifestyle.

That changed everything.

My passion is my “Why.” It is the driving force behind all that I do. It fuels my fire. I don’t wish hitting “rock bottom” on anyone but sometimes it is a necessary wake up call. Tough love.

Are you passionate about what you do? Does if feel more like work or fun? Does it keep you up at night? If not, maybe it’s time for positive change in a new direction. Your health just may depend on it.

Supermarket News

‘Green Revolution’ changes breathing of the biosphere: Stronger seasonal oscillations in carbon dioxide linked to intensive agriculture

The intense farming practices of the “Green Revolution” are powerful enough to alter Earth’s atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, boosting the seasonal amplitude in atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 15 percent over the past five decades.

That’s the key finding of a new atmospheric model developed by University of Maryland researchers, which estimates that on average, the amplitude of the seasonal oscillation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 0.3 percent every year. A study based on the results of the model, called VEGAS, was published Nov. 20, 2014 in the journal Nature.

“What we are seeing is the effect of the Green Revolution on Earth’s metabolism,” said UMD Atmospheric and Ocean Science Professor Ning Zeng, the lead developer of VEGAS, a terrestrial carbon cycle model that, for the first time, factors in changes in 20th and 21st century farming practices. “Changes in the way we manage the land can literally alter the breathing of the biosphere.”

Scientists have known since the 1950s that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit an annual low during late summer and early fall in the Northern Hemisphere, which has a greater continental landmass than the Southern Hemisphere, and therefore has more plant life. The atmosphere’s carbon dioxide level falls in spring and summer as all the hemisphere’s plants reach their maximum growth, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. In the autumn, when the hemisphere’s plants are decomposing and releasing stored carbon, the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide levels rapidly increase.

In a set of historic observations taken continuously since 1958 at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, and later in other places including Barrow, Alaska, researchers have tracked these seasonal peaks and valleys, which clearly show an increase in the atmosphere’s overall level of carbon dioxide, Earth’s main greenhouse gas. Between 1961 and 2010, the seasonal variation has also become more extreme. Carbon dioxide levels are currently about 6 parts per million higher in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter than in summer.

While the forces driving the overall increase in carbon dioxide are well understood, the reasons behind the steepening of the seasonal carbon dioxide cycle are harder to pin down. Because plants breathe in carbon dioxide, higher atmospheric levels of the gas can stimulate plant growth, and this so-called “carbon dioxide fertilization effect” probably plays a role. Climate scientists also point to the warming in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes that makes plants grow better in cold regions as an important factor. But even taken together, those factors cannot fully account for the trend and spatial patterns toward increasing seasonal change, said Zeng.

Zeng points out that between 1961 and 2010, the amount of land planted with major crops grew by 20 percent, but crop production tripled. The combination of factors known as the Green Revolution–improved irrigation, increased use of manufactured fertilizer, and higher-yield strains of corn, wheat, rice and other crops–must have led not only to increased crop productivity, but also to increases in plants’ seasonal growth and decay and the amount of carbon dioxide they release to the atmosphere, he reasoned.

UMD graduate student Fang Zhao and other collaborators worked with Zeng, who developed the first of several versions of the VEGAS model in 2000, to add information on worldwide crop production. The researchers combined country-by-country statistics collected yearly by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) with climate data and observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from several sites. To ensure that their results did not overstate the Green Revolution’s effect, the researchers ran their model using an estimate of worldwide crop production slightly lower than the FAO statistics.

Once the Green Revolution was factored in, VEGAS’ results generally tracked the actual carbon dioxide peaks and valleys recorded at Mauna Loa. Between 1975 and 1985, carbon dioxide levels rose faster at Mauna Loa than they did in the model, but this could be due to regional weather patterns, Zeng said.

Other atmospheric models factor in changes in land use, from natural vegetation to cropland, Zeng said, but the VEGAS results described in Nature are the first to track the effect of changes in the intensity of farming methods. There are still many unknowns. For example, the Green Revolution has not affected all parts of the world equally, and there isn’t enough detailed information about changing farming practices over the past 50 years to build those detailed variations into the model.

“We dealt with the unknowns by keeping it simple,” said Zeng. “My education was mostly in physics, and physicists are brave about making the simplifying assumptions you have to make to reach a general understanding of some important force. Our goal was simply to represent the intensification of agriculture in a model of the carbon cycle, and we have accomplished that.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. The original article was written by Heather Dewar. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Price Chopper undergoes redesign, changes name to ‘Market 32′

The Golub Corp., the parent company of the grocery chain Price Chopper, unveiled a new name and banner for its stores on Nov.11.

Now known as “Market 32″ to reflect the chain’s founding in 1932, the new stores will begin rolling out across the chain’s six-state region this spring, promising change for its customers through modernized stores, as well as new services and products.

market32

“Market 32 represents the next leap forward for our company,” said Neil Golub, Price Chopper’s executive chairman of the board. “We have evolved from the Public Service Market to Central Market to Price Chopper by responding to customers’ changing needs over time and Market 32 is the next natural progression for us.”

Initially, three Price Chopper stores will be converted into Market 32 stores, including Shopper’s World in Clifton Park, NY, Wilton, NY, and Pittsfield, MA. The first “ground up” Market 32 was set to begin construction in Sutton, MA, on Nov. 12. A second wave of conversions will begin over the next 18 months and encompass another 10-15 stores.

 

Over half of the 135-store chain will be converted within five years, totaling more than $ 300 million in the redesign investment.

“Market 32 combines what we are hearing from our customers and what we are learning at Market Bistro with some of the best thinking in the retail industry, and will focus on delivering a distinctively different shopping experience to our customers,” Jerel Golub, Price Chopper’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Our stores will meet customers’ needs today and for decades to come. Most importantly, though, we will continue to offer great value for great food and service.”

The new stores will have expanded foodservice options, an enhanced product mix and a re-emphasis on customer service. More details about the many differences in the new concept will be unveiled in the coming months as store conversions begin.

 

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

Price Chopper undergoes redesign, changes name to ‘Market 32′

The Golub Corp., the parent company of the grocery chain Price Chopper, unveiled a new name and banner for its stores on Nov.11.

Now known as “Market 32″ to reflect the chain’s founding in 1932, the new stores will begin rolling out across the chain’s six-state region this spring, promising change for its customers through modernized stores, as well as new services and products.

market32

“Market 32 represents the next leap forward for our company,” said Neil Golub, Price Chopper’s executive chairman of the board. “We have evolved from the Public Service Market to Central Market to Price Chopper by responding to customers’ changing needs over time and Market 32 is the next natural progression for us.”

Initially, three Price Chopper stores will be converted into Market 32 stores, including Shopper’s World in Clifton Park, NY, Wilton, NY, and Pittsfield, MA. The first “ground up” Market 32 was set to begin construction in Sutton, MA, on Nov. 12. A second wave of conversions will begin over the next 18 months and encompass another 10-15 stores.

 

Over half of the 135-store chain will be converted within five years, totaling more than $ 300 million in the redesign investment.

“Market 32 combines what we are hearing from our customers and what we are learning at Market Bistro with some of the best thinking in the retail industry, and will focus on delivering a distinctively different shopping experience to our customers,” Jerel Golub, Price Chopper’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Our stores will meet customers’ needs today and for decades to come. Most importantly, though, we will continue to offer great value for great food and service.”

The new stores will have expanded foodservice options, an enhanced product mix and a re-emphasis on customer service. More details about the many differences in the new concept will be unveiled in the coming months as store conversions begin.

 

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

AU: Ag groups come out in protest against changes to agricultural levies

AU: Ag groups come out in protest against changes to agricultural levies

Agricultural groups have come out swinging in a ferocious public campaign aimed at blocking “political intervention” on changes to agricultural levies.

A dis-allowance motion by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm that aims to reverse increases to the onion, mango and mushroom levies has angered key industry players, including the National Farmers Federation (NFF).

According to the Across Agriculture Group (AAG), which is convened periodically to lobby collectively on issues affecting grower levies, the new Senator’s disallowance motion could potentially destroy Australia’s agricultural levy system.

The AAG was recently convened by the Australian Lot Feeders Association’s Dougal Gordon and involves 17 other groups, including Grain Producers Australia and pork, dairy, rice, cotton and mushroom peak bodies.

They’ve defended the Australian agricultural levy system as being world-leading and accused Senator Leyonhjelm of being driven by an ideological opposition to levies.

At a public protest held in Tasmania on Thursday, industry groups demanded the ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party support agriculture by publicly stating they’ll vote against the dis-allowance motion in the federal Senate on August 26

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie who firstly argued strongly in support of blocking increases to marketing and research levies for mushrooms now says she’ll vote against a dis-allowance motion moved by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm to stop increases in levies for mushrooms, mangoes and onions.

Ms Lambie attended the rally in Tasmania today.

“It became clear to me after many local phone calls late last night that Tasmanian Primary Industries and rural workers would be better off if the levy increases were allowed to stand,” she said.

Former Onions Australia chairman Brian Bonde is a strong supporter of the levy system.

He said that it underpinned Australia’s agricultural research and development, marketing, plant and animal health systems that had made it one of the leading agricultural producers of the world.

“The onion, mango and mushroom industries have joined in a bid to fight off Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm’s motion to disallow the regulations implementing the industry-supported changes to the levies,” Mr Bonde said.

“The motion has been tabled, notwithstanding the industries conducting a rigorous five year process of consultation, investing grower funds and conducting AEC independent ballots.”

Mr Bonde said that the industries welcomed support from The Greens, who had publicly stated their support for the levies system, as well as from Opposition Agriculture Spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon, who said that levies were an important aspect of agricultural industries.

Robert Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mango Industry Association, said that the mango levy is essential to the future of the industry. “During the 2012 / 2013 mango season, there was a significant incidence of an issue called Resin Canal Discolouration. While this issue only affects the appearance of a mango it can drastically reduce the price a mango is sold for, hurting growers back pockets. The industry recognised that this was a serious issue, and during the 2013 / 2014 season, used funds from the mango levy to initiate a research project to assess the issue and look at possible causes,” he said.

Mango levies receive widespread support from the industry and are recognised as being vital to the growth and prosperity of the Australian mango industry. Levies fund research and development, biosecurity measures, are used to work toward market access for mango exports, and marketing programs that ensure ongoing demand for the popular fruit.

“The levy system allows our industry to invest in issues that could cause significant damage to our growers if not addressed. The issue of Resin Canal Discolouration is just an example that paints a picture of the need for the levy system. Without the compulsory levy, the industry would have little or no options to deal with issues like this.

“If the Senate vote to disallow the levy is successful, it could put the whole levy system in disarray. The levies in question were passed by a majority of mango growers. The final decision should rest with the growers as they pay the levy and will be most affected by the dis-allowance,” Mr Gray said.

Publication date: 8/21/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Pacific Trellis announces changes at Dulcinea Farms

Pacific Trellis Fruit, the Fresno, CA-based distributor of grapes and tree fruit, announced it will implement some changes at Dulcinea Farms, which it purchased earlier this year.

Dulcinea HighRes-Logo

Key among those changes is the departure of John McGuigan, manager of Dulcinea, who will leave at the end of August.

“John, a 25-year veteran of the produce industry, has been a great asset to the company since his joining,” the company said in a press release. “He was of great assistance to us on this latest acquisition, helping us to transition it from a public company structure to a more market- and grower-focused operation.”

“I have had the great fortune to work for outstanding organizations and help get them positioned for success for the future,” McGuigan added in the press release. “I know that the team will do great things with Dulcinea Farms going forward, and I wish them all the success in the world.”

 

Other changes planned for the fall include the expansion of Dulcinea’s melon program, with new production areas for all varieties. The company said the 2014-15 winter melon program will have increased volume with product coming from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

Additionally, Pacific Trellis has hired former Syngenta employee Paul Collazo to a new research and development position, where he will work on existing and new proprietary melon varieties.

Steve Dabich, an eight-year veteran at Dulcinea Farms, continues the role of director of sales.

Pacific Trellis Fruit farms over 6,000 acres of melons annually and is the owner of the consumer brands “PureHeart,” “Tuscan-Style” and “Ruby Bliss,” and many others under the Dulcinea label. It is also a sizable grower and importer of grapes, tree fruit and other commodities.

 

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

California Grape & Tree Fruit League changes name to California Fresh Fruit Association

The California Grape & Tree Fruit League has officially changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association, an identity its members believe better defines the broad types of commodities it represents.

The California Fresh Fruit Association will formally present its new name to executive and legislative officials its annual fruit delivery Aug. 12 in Sacramento. And to celebrate this important milestone, an evening reception with government officials and California Fresh Fruit Association members will follow.

The membership-based organization is one of the oldest agricultural trade associations in California, dating back to 1936 with the merger between the California Growers & Shippers Protective League and the California Grape Growers & Shippers Association.

The possibility of a name change was presented by the association’s Strategic Planning Committee in 2013 upon the completion of its five-year strategic plan. Members were approached by the board of directors to consider a new name that would encompass more of the commodities it represents, such as fresh grapes, blueberries, and deciduous tree fruits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pears, apples, cherries, figs, kiwis, pomegranates and persimmons. In summary, the association represents the state’s permanent fresh fruit crops with the exception of citrus and avocados.

With support from the board of directors and the organization’s nearly 350 members, the California Fresh Fruit Association proceeds with business as usual under its new name, advocating for fresh fruit growers, shippers and marketers. The association’s headquarters will remain in Fresno, CA.

“While undergoing a name change is no easy task, little has changed as we’ve made sure to continue with our responsibilities as usual,” Barry Bedwell, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “As we began the process, we wanted to proceed with a name that accurately represents our members and the commodities they provide. We couldn’t be happier with our selection. California Fresh Fruit Association is exactly who we are and what we represent.”

 

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

California Grape & Tree Fruit League changes name to California Fresh Fruit Association

The California Grape & Tree Fruit League has officially changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association, an identity its members believe better defines the broad types of commodities it represents.

The California Fresh Fruit Association will formally present its new name to executive and legislative officials its annual fruit delivery Aug. 12 in Sacramento. And to celebrate this important milestone, an evening reception with government officials and California Fresh Fruit Association members will follow.

The membership-based organization is one of the oldest agricultural trade associations in California, dating back to 1936 with the merger between the California Growers & Shippers Protective League and the California Grape Growers & Shippers Association.

The possibility of a name change was presented by the association’s Strategic Planning Committee in 2013 upon the completion of its five-year strategic plan. Members were approached by the board of directors to consider a new name that would encompass more of the commodities it represents, such as fresh grapes, blueberries, and deciduous tree fruits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pears, apples, cherries, figs, kiwis, pomegranates and persimmons. In summary, the association represents the state’s permanent fresh fruit crops with the exception of citrus and avocados.

With support from the board of directors and the organization’s nearly 350 members, the California Fresh Fruit Association proceeds with business as usual under its new name, advocating for fresh fruit growers, shippers and marketers. The association’s headquarters will remain in Fresno, CA.

“While undergoing a name change is no easy task, little has changed as we’ve made sure to continue with our responsibilities as usual,” Barry Bedwell, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “As we began the process, we wanted to proceed with a name that accurately represents our members and the commodities they provide. We couldn’t be happier with our selection. California Fresh Fruit Association is exactly who we are and what we represent.”

 

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

Changes in agriculture increase high river flow rates

Just as a leaky roof can make a house cooler and wetter when it’s raining as well as hotter and dryer when it’s sunny, changes in land use can affect river flow in both rainy and dry times, say two University of Iowa researchers.

While it may be obvious that changes in river water discharge across the U.S. Midwest can be related to changes in rainfall and agricultural land use, it is important to learn how these two factors interact in order to get a better understanding of what the future may look like, says Gabriele Villarini, UI assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, assistant research engineer at IIHR — Hydroscience & Engineering and lead author of a published research paper on the subject.

“We wanted to know what the relative impacts of precipitation and agricultural practices played in shaping the discharge record that we see today,” he says. “Is it an either/or answer or a much more nuanced one?

“By understanding our past we are better positioned in making meaningful statements about our future,” he says.

The potential benefits of understanding river flow are especially great in the central United States, particularly Iowa, where spring and summer floods have hit the area in 1993, 2008, 2013 and 2014, interrupted by the drought of 2012. Large economic damage and even loss of life have resulted, says co-author Aaron Strong, UI assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and with the Environmental Policy Program at the UI Public Policy Center.

“What is interesting to note,” says Strong, “is that the impacts, in terms of flooding, have been exacerbated. At the same time, the impacts of drought, for in-stream flow, have been mitigated with the changes in land use composition that we have seen over the last century.”

In order to study the effect of changes in agricultural practices on Midwest river discharge, the researchers focused on Iowa’s Raccoon River at Van Meter, Iowa. The 9,000-square-kilometer watershed has the advantage of having had its water discharge levels measured and recorded daily for most of the 20th century right on up to the present day. (The study focused on the period 1927-2012). During that period, the number of acres used for corn and soybean production greatly increased, roughly doubling over the course of the 20th century.

Not surprisingly, they found that variability in rainfall is responsible for most of the changes in water discharge volumes.

However, the water discharge rates also varied with changes in agricultural practices, as defined by soybean and corn harvested acreage in the Raccoon River watershed. In times of flood and in times of drought, water flow rates were exacerbated by more or less agriculture, respectively. The authors suggest that although flood conditions may be exacerbated by increases in agricultural production, this concern “must all be balanced by the private concerns of increased revenue from agricultural production through increased cultivation.”

“Our results suggest that changes in agricultural practices over this watershed — with increasing acreage planted in corn and soybeans over time — translated into a seven-fold increase in rainfall contribution to the average annual maximum discharge when we compare the present to the 1930s,” Villarini says.

The UI research paper, “Roles of climate and agricultural practices in discharge changes in an agricultural watershed in Iowa,” can be found in the April 15 online edition of Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. The original article was written by Gary Galluzzo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Applebee’s Changes Suppliers in Minnesota as E. coli Investigation Continues

Following reports that its franchise locations in Minnesota may be connected to an outbreak of E. coli O111, the Applebee’s restaurant chain announced Thursday that it has “changed suppliers” in the state.

When asked by Food Safety News, Applebee’s spokesman declined to specify exactly what supplies would be sourced from the new supplier. He also would not name the new or the previous supplier.

Sometime before the July 14 announcement of 13 E. coli O111 illnesses in Minnesota, Applebee’s locations in Minnesota stopped serving the Oriental Chicken Salad menu item, as well as related ingredients served with other products. The move suggested that at least some case patients had consumed the salad.

At least 13 people in Minnesota have fallen ill in the outbreak, with seven of them having eaten at Applebee’s. Because the other six cases have no apparent connection to Applebee’s, Minnesota health officials believe the outbreak has been caused by a “widely distributed food item” and may not necessarily have been served at Applebee’s.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the outbreak investigation also included two additional cases in two unnamed states. Officials declined to reveal those states until the investigation could positively connect them to the outbreak in Minnesota.

On Thursday, investigators in Minnesota were still working to determine which food product might have caused the illnesses, said Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Michael Schommer. Until then, they weren’t showing their cards in terms of any additional information.

“In epidemiological investigations, the gold standard is to find a sample of the food product with the outbreak pathogen in it,” Schommer said. “The majority of cases ate at Applebee’s, and while that information is certainly helpful to the investigation, we haven’t yet found the gold standard.”

Food Safety News

New Galia variety changes skin colour when ready to harvest

Nunhems:
New Galia variety changes skin colour when ready to harvest

With a taste of the traditional Galia melon, the new variety “Kirene” combines the high sugar level of a Galia with an extended shelf life that allows it to ship throughout Europe. “Kirene is a Galia variety, but with a nice, yellow appearance,” said Claude Guérin of Nunhems Produce Chain Specialist. Nunhems is the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience, and Guérin said they developed Kirene to specifically meet consumer desires. “In the past you could get melons that were yellow but weren’t ripe,” said Guérin. “But the color of the Kirene lets you know when it’s ripe, and it makes life easier for everyone along the supply chain.”

To secure the supply chain, it’s bred so that it matures from green to yellow when it’s ready to harvest, making it easy for growers, retailers and consumers to know for certain when the fruit reaches maturity. This happens at a time during the summer season when no other melons on the European market can boast such an appearance.

On top of that, Kirene has a wonderful scent which engages shoppers to buy it more than any others. “Kirene is good for retailers because during June and July, when it’s available, it’s the only variety that has all the external signs of maturity,” said Guérin. Growers also appreciate the resiliency of the plants during the growing season and the yields during harvest. But most importantly, the fruit always turns yellow when mature, and it’s never yellow before then. That’s important for growers because they know exactly when to harvest their melons, it’s important for retailers because they know what fruit to display, and it’s important for consumers who know they’ll get fruit that is at its peak of flavor.

“We know that people want more flavor from melons,” said Guérin. “So we worked on ways to improve that.” In addition to a sweet taste and attractive appearance, having a sufficient shelf life was also key so the variety could be shipped from production area  to retail shelves without any hassle. That’s exactly what Nunhems got with Kirene.
 
Going forward, Guérin noted they’re working on extending this galia concept to come up with melons that can grow before and after Kirene’s window of June and July, but the reception the melon has received so far has been encouraging.

“The biggest production right now is in Spain, and the fruit is shipping throughout Europe,” said Guérin. “It’s now in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and probably Russia.

For more information please visit www.nunhems.com
 

Publication date: 6/21/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Canada poised for changes in the produce marketplace

With an overhaul of its regulatory system for fresh produce imminent, the Canadian marketplace soon will be undergoing more changes than at any time in the past 20 years.

At least that was the view of Fred Webber, chief executive officer and president of the Ottawa-based Dispute Resolution Corp., which can mediate produce sales conflicts among the North American Free Trade Agreement partners of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

He said the licensing change alone takes on a whole new meaning in Canada and it will be much easier for U.S. and Mexican trading partners to check the validity of the Canadian firms with which they do business.

Webber was part of three-person panel discussion about the Canadian produce industry at the United Fresh convention in Chicago, June 10-12. Also discussing the new regulations, which have not been finalized yet, and what they mean were Shelley Ippolito, director of the Destination Inspection Service for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Canadian Produce Marketing Association President Ron Lemaire.

The proposed regulations have gone through several levels of vetting as well as the initial comment period, so these experts appeared to be fairly confident that their impressions of the final regulations are accurate.

Ippolito said it appears that every company importing fruits or vegetables or preparing them for export between countries or between Canadian provinces will have to be licensed under the new regulations.

In addition, all licensees will have to be members of the DRC. Webber said that shippers doing their due diligence will be able to check to make sure a buyer has a license, and is a member in good standing of the DRC. But even if a seller does not do its due diligence, it will be very difficult to sell to a non-licensed company because the product will be prohibited from entering Canada if it is not headed to a licensee.

“You just can’t sell it to whoever,” said Webber. “You will have to sell it to someone legally.”

With regard to the DRC, he said that anyone will be able to appeal to the DRC for help in a slow-pay situation, but still only DRC members will be able to participate in the dispute resolution piece.

So that means there is still a very viable business reason for countries outside of Canada doing business with Canadian companies to have a DRC membership.

Ippolito also discussed the revitalized Destination Inspection Service, which has gone through an overhaul over the last several years. Today, that government agency provides timely inspections on conditions, quality and temperature, and it can also conduct custom inspections. She said the CFIA inspectors operate on a 24/7 time schedule and they produce clear and transparent inspection reports that are available digitally.

Webber plugged the program, telling U.S. and Mexican shippers to make sure they designate a DIS inspection when asking for one from the receiver. He said a receiver can use a private inspector but it must be with “informed consent “from the shipper, and he indicated that it might not be as accurate.

“Please, please, please make sure, when there is a problem, you get a DIS inspection,” urged Webber.

Lemaire also discussed what he called the “massive change” in the Canadian produce marketplace. He also complimented the government in accomplishing these changes “lightning fast.”

With more transparency and a better situation, the CPMA executive said there are great opportunities for doing business in Canada. He called it a very diversified country with 37 million resident of which 6.5 million are immigrants. Canadian’s immigrant population continues to grow, and, as in the United States, ethnic populations tend to be very big consumers of fresh produce.

And also like the United States, the Canadian population is getting older, which is another driver of increased produce consumption. He said Canadians are adventurous eaters with a recent survey stating that 77 percent of the respondents had eaten a new produce item in the past year.

Lemaire said the changes in the regulations, while significant, should not be traumatic for those exporting product into Canada. He indicated that CPMA and other industry representatives worked with the regulators to make sure the regulations were not onerous.

Speaking specifically about food-safety requirements, Lemaire said they are outcome-based, relying on a heavy dose of science and risk analysis.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” he said, but clearly indicated that he is very optimistic.

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

New approach to detecting changes in GM foods

Does genetic manipulation causes unintended changes in food quality and composition? Are genetically modified (GM) foods less nutritious than their non-GM counterparts, or different in unknown ways?

Despite extensive cultivation and testing of GM foods, those questions still linger in the minds of many consumers. A new study in the March issue of The Plant Genome demonstrates a potentially more powerful approach to answering them.

In research led by Owen Hoekenga, a Cornell University adjunct assistant professor, scientists extracted roughly 1,000 biochemicals, or “metabolites,” from the fruit of tomatoes. These tomatoes had been genetically engineered to delay fruit ripening — a common technique to help keep fruits fresher longer. The researchers then compared this “metabolic profile” from the GM fruit to the profile of its non-GM variety.

Extracting and analyzing hundreds metabolites at once gives researchers a snapshot of the fruit’s physiology, which can be compared against others.

When the scientists compared the biochemicals of the GM tomato and a wide assortment other non-GM tomatoes, including modern and heirloom varieties, they found no significant differences overall. Thus, although the GM tomato was distinct from its parent, its metabolic profile still fell within the “normal” range of biochemical diversity exhibited by the larger group of varieties. However, the biochemicals related to fruit ripening did show a significant difference — no surprise because that was the intent of the genetic modification.

The finding suggests little or no accidental biochemical change due to genetic modification in this case, as well as a “useful way to address consumer concerns about unintended effects” in general, Hoekenga says.

He explains that the FDA already requires developers of GM crops to compare a handful of key nutritional compounds in GM varieties relative to their non-GM parents. The process is designed to catch instances where genetic manipulation may have affected nutritional quality, for example.

Moreover, comparing a GM variety to diverse cultivars can help scientists and consumers put into context any biochemical changes that are observed. “We accept that there isn’t just one kind of tomato at the farmer’s market. We look for diverse food experiences,” Hoekenga says. “So we think that establishing the range of acceptable metabolic variability [in food] can be useful for examining GM varieties.”

The process was expensive, and the chemistry methods can’t yet be used in official safety assessments, Hoekenga acknowledges. Making statistical comparisons of metabolic “fingerprints” is no easy task. In their study, Hoekenga’s group adapted a style of statistics used in other research.

But the techniques don’t apply only to tomato. “The method can be applied to any plant or crop,” Hoekenga says. “We’ve made something fundamentally useful that anyone can use and improve on.”

When crossing parent plants, for example, breeders often like to track the genes underlying their trait of interest, such as resistance to a pathogen. That’s because pinpointing offspring that carry the right genes is often faster and easier than examining plants for the trait itself.

But sometimes, so many genes contribute to a single trait that figuring out which genes are involved in the first place becomes onerous. This is where Hoekenga thinks his style of research and analysis might one day help. “We’re trying to describe at the biochemical level what might be responsible for a trait. And from that, you could extract genetic information to use in breeding.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Crop Science Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

UK Pig Inspection Rule Changes Open For Public Comment

In June of this year, the European Union will introduce new rules for pig meat inspections designed to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination on pork.

The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency announced last week that it is requesting comments on the practical application of changes required by the rules.

These comments are being solicited from food business operators in FSA-approved pig meat establishments, pig farmers, and officials working in pig meat establishments. Comments on costs, benefits and wider impacts for stakeholders will also be accepted.

“The current system needs modernizing,” said Steve Wearne, director of policy at FSA, in a statement. “Our meat hygiene controls were developed more than a century ago to tackle the health concerns of the day. A modernized inspection system will protect consumers better and be more proportionate to slaughterhouses that control risks effectively.”

Wearne continued, “We want to ensure the new controls are proportionate and take into account the views of producers and consumers of pork. We look forward to hearing all of the views that come out of this consultation.”

The new rules are designed to help official veterinarians and meat inspectors better target public health risks in pig slaughter facilities and to control risks effectively. The new rules will focus on the visual inspection of all pigs to reduce the risk of bacteria being spread around the meat, FSA’s statement states.

Current practices utilizing hands-on inspection can result in the spread of harmful bacteria when a pig carcass or offal is handled and cut. Hands-on inspection will be carried out only where information from the farm or visual inspection at the slaughterhouse has identified potential concerns about an animal.

In addition to changes in inspection, stricter rules for Salmonella control and more risk-based testing for Trichinella, a parasite, will be implemented.

Responses to the consultations are required by May 6 in all U.K. countries except Scotland. Scottish stakeholders must respond in writing by April 28.

Food Safety News

Albertson’s announces executive changes

AB Acquisition LLC, which operates Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s Inc., announced that Rick Navarro, who had been the company’s chief financial officer since its inception in 2006, has been appointed chief administrative officer. Succeeding Navarro as the company’s CFO is Robert B. Dimond.

“Our decentralized operating structure requires executives with entrepreneurial mindsets, and the work that Rick and Bob have done in their careers exemplify that trait,” Bob Miller, chief executive officer of Albertsons, said in a press release. “Our leadership teams at Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s Inc. have done a phenomenal job positioning our stores for the future, and both Rick and Bob are capable executives who will help our company to capitalize on that as we look to grow for the future.”

As CFO, Navarro oversaw all aspects of the company’s financial management, including treasury, accounting and controls, financial planning and analysis, inventory control, payroll and tax. He was integral to the formation of the company in its earliest stages and the creation and implementation of its rigorous operations review processes that have been one of the hallmarks of the company’s success. In his new role, Navarro will oversee the information technology, legal, business development, human resources and public affairs functions.

Dimond brings 24 years of financial and senior executive management experience in the grocery and distribution industry. He most recently served as executive vice president, CFO and treasurer at Nash Finch, a food distribution and retail company with $ 5 billion in annual revenues. In that role, Dimond was responsible for all of the company’s financial functions, and he also served as the primary contact for all investor relations, investment and commercial banking activities.

Prior to Nash Finch, Dimond was with Wild Oats Markets as CFO and senior vice president from April 2005 to December 2006, and he also served as group vice president and CFO for the western region of The Kroger Co., as well as vice president, administration and controller for Smith’s Food & Drug Centers. Dimond earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Utah and is a certified public accountant.

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

GMA: Time is right for Nutrition Facts changes

The Nutrition Facts panel is due for an update, said the Grocery Manufacturers Association in response to changes proposed by the FDA Thursday.


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“It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science,” said Pam Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, in a statement. “Equally as important is ensuring that any changes ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers.”

The updates proposed by FDA would include disclosure of “added sugars,” vitamin D, potassium, and serving sizes updated to reflect what people actually eat vs. what they should eat. “Calories from fat” would be removed and calories and serving sizes would be displayed in larger bolder type. The %DV (daily value) would be moved to the left.

“We look forward to working with the FDA and other stakeholders as these proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label make their way through the rule making process,” said Bailey.

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