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U.S.: Limoneira expands direct sales program

California-based Limoneira Company will now build on its direct lemon sales programs with oranges and other specialty citrus items.

Chief operating officer Alex Teague tells www.freshfruitportal.com the move ties into Limoneira’s One World of Citrus program, meeting the needs of customers not only in the U.S. but throughout the globe.

He says the direct sales method outside the lemon category – in citrus referred to as “round fruit” – has been in trials for a couple of years, but now the it would make up 100% of volume.

“One of the big drivers is the foodservice industry. Whereas probably 70-80% oranges go to retail, only about 20-30% of lemons go to retail,” Teague says.

“So bringing the foodservice-size oranges to coincide with our foodservice business in the lemons is a big help.”

In addition to Navel and Valencia oranges, Limoneira will provide Cara Cara Navels , Moro Blood oranges, Pummelos and Star Ruby Grapefruit from its groves.

The company will partner with Cecelia Packing Corporation for packing Limoneira oranges and specialty citrus.

“Limoneira via Sunkist used to have an orange house up until 2001 – for a variety of reasons it was shut down and we had always planned to going back to packing and selling direct ourselves with the oranges – now just appeared the opportune time with Cecelia to go do it,” he says.

“Like our lemon packing house in Santa Paula, they have a state-of-the-art facility in Orange Cove that’s close to our orange and specialty citrus groves,” Teague says in a release.

In the release, Limoneira director of global sales John Carter says global lemon customers have been asking Limoneira to sell its other citrus varieties for quite a while.

“We look forward to the opportunity to grow the category and connect shoppers to other citrus trees,” he says.

“Customers have appreciated the quality and consistency that they receive with Limoneira’s lemons, and we will deliver these same benefits with our oranges and specialty citrus.”

When asked about the current citrus market, Teague is still upbeat despite some short-term challenges this year.

“I would say the round fruit, because of unusual crop size, some maturing issues, there was a struggle this year,” he says.

“But of course we think that’s only temporary and it’ll work its way out. It was more a seasonal crop condition than it was a market condition. We still have strong confidence in the marketplace and consumption.

“The lemon market is continuing to be very strong. Consumption, from what we can tell comparing stores and restaurants, consumption continues to rise. We continue to have a lot of interest from retail and foodservice to have more fresh lemon programs.”

In terms of the upcoming California deal, he says orchards are getting enough heat units to have good-tasting oranges, and Limoneira has a full water allocation in the San Joaquin Valley.

“For fruit condition we’re very much looking forward to the 2016-17 season,” he says.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

FreshFruitPortal.com

ConAgra expands recall of chicken and beef over metal fragments

The July 6 recall by ConAgra Foods was expanded Friday to include an additional 191,791 pounds–up from the original 3,806 pounds—for a total of 195,597 pounds of chicken and beef P.F. Chang’s brand entrée products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal.

recalled P.F. Changs chicken beef ConAgraThe problem was first discovered on July 1 by an employee at the Russellville, AR ConAgra facility who observed metal fragments while dispensing sugar from a supplier for sauce formulation during processing. No injuries have yet been associated with the metal fragment contamination.

The fragments range in size between 2 and 9 millimeters (mm) in diameter, and are curled, malleable and shiny. The metal fragments may be embedded in the sauce contained within the frozen entrée products.

The frozen chicken and beef entrée items were produced on various dates between May 31, 2016 and June 22, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Signature Spicy Chicken” with “Use By” date of 6/08/17 and case code 5006616500.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Mongolian Style Beef” with “Use By” date of 6/17/17 and case code 5006617400.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Mongolian Style Beef” with “Use By” date of 6/1/17 and case code 5006615800.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Beef with Broccoli” with “Use By” date of 6/4/17 and case code 5006616100.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Sweet & Sour Chicken” with “Use By” date of 6/3/17 and case code 5006616000.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu General Chang’s Chicken” with “Use By” date of 6/3/17 and case code 5006616000.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Garlic Chicken with Dan Dan Noodles” with “Use By” date of 6/8/17 and case code 5006616500.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Lo Mein Noodles” with “Use By” date of 6/10/17 and case code 5006616700.

• 22-oz. plastic bagged meal packages of “P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Signature Spicy Chicken” with “Use By” date of 5/26/17 and case code 5006615200.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 233” or “EST. P-115” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to distributors and retail locations nationwide.

The resulting sauce is a component in the frozen entrée products. On July 14, 2016, ConAgra Foods was notified by the supplier of an FDA recall involving multiple production lots of sugar due to potential metal contamination. The recall action involved additional lots of sugar potentially used in FSIS regulated products at ConAgra Foods, and resulted in this expansion of the initial recall action.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website.

Food Safety News

FDA to Block Pomegranate Seeds from Turkey; Townsend Recall Expands

Updated July 30 with expanded recall information:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday it will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Turkey as health officials have narrowed the likely cause of a Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened at least 127 people in 8 states. On Sunday, one of the frozen berry recalls associated with the outbreak expanded.

The agency has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and state and local health authorities for several weeks to try and track down the ingredient making people sick. Health officials have now determined that the “most likely vehicle” for the virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading of Turkey that were used by Townsend Farms to make Organic Antioxidant Blend, a mix of frozen berries, sold to Costco and Harris Teeter stores.

FDA is now barring Goknur from shipping pomegranate seeds into the United States. It is not clear how much product is impacted, but an FDA official noted that Turkey is a “minor player” compared to countries like India, Iran, China, and Thailand, when it comes to providing pomegranate to the U.S. market.

“This outbreak highlights the food safety challenge posed by today’s global food system,” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, in a press release over the weekend. “The presence in a single product of multiple ingredients from multiple countries compounds the difficulty of finding the cause of an illness outbreak. The Hepatitis A outbreak shows how we have improved our ability to investigate and respond to outbreaks, but also why we are working to build a food safety system that more effectively prevents them.”

The Townsend Farms blend has been linked to the multistate outbreak affecting mostly western states. According to CDC, about half of the reported Hepatitis A cases are in California.

Colorado has reported 25 and Arizona 17. Hawaii is reporting 7, New Mexico and Nevada have 5 cases and Utah and Wisconsin have 2 each. The cases reported in Wisconsin, however, resulted from exposure to the product in California, according to health officials.

Nearly 60 percent of those sickened are women. The ages in the outbreak range from 2 to 84 and include 6 children under the age of 18. CDC said none of the children had been vaccinated. More than half of those ill required hospitalization.

The outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus, belonging to genotype 1B, is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East, according to CDC.

The outbreak has sparked several large recalls. In early June, Townsend Farms recalled more than 300,000 four pound packages of the frozen berries sold at Costco and then issued another recall of berries sold at Harris Teeter. Last week, Scenic Fruit Company recalled over 60,000 bags of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels because their product, imported from Turkey, has the potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A.

On Sunday, FDA announced the Townsend Farms frozen berry recall has been expanded again. The company is now recalling Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, 3 lb. bag with UPC 0 78414 40444 8. The codes are located on the back of the package with the words “BEST BY” followed by the code T122114 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter. All letter designations are included in the voluntary recall, according to the expanded recall announcement.

The announcement also said that the epidemiological evidence “does not support an association between the illness outbreak and the four other berry products (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and dark cherry) in the Frozen Organic Antioxidant blend,” which were also used in other Townsend Farms products, so consumers do not have reason to be concerned about those berries.

Townsend Farms said an FDA inspection of the company’s frozen fruit repacking operations has been completed. “The FDA found no evidence linking either the Townsend Farms, Inc.’s repacking facility or any food handler who had possible contact with the product to the source of the illness outbreak,” according to the release.

Hepatitis A, a liver disease, can range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Symptoms usually occur within 15 to 50 days of exposure and include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

If a person has been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus within two weeks or less, they may be able to prevent the disease by receiving a vaccine. Consumers who may have eaten recalled product or have Hepatitis A symptoms should consult with their healthcare provider or their local health department.

 

Food Safety News

Vick Family Farms expands storage, adds bagging

WILSON, NC — Lyndon B. Johnson, the legendary master of the U.S. Senate, used to say that the time to make friends is before you need them. And the time to expand farming operations is before you need more space. That’s the approach Vick Family Farms here took last year, when spring rains foreshortened the 2013 sweet potato harvest. The family corporation invested in a new storage facility for year-round sweet potatoes and a bagging machine to spur consumer demand.

The move paid off.VICK11214-EXPORTIn the packinghouse at Vick Family Farms, a growing share of the 2014 sweet potato harvest is being exported overseas. These cartons, with Süßkartoffeln printed on them — German for ‘sweet potatoes’ — are being shipped to Amsterdam for German markets. Vick added 22,000 square feet of refrigerated storage space and was able to accommodate the back-to-normal abundance of the 2014 sweet potato harvest. The new storage facility gives Vick the ability to store 600,000 bushels on site, according to Hunter A. S. Rascoe, packinghouse and food-safety manager. Rascoe said the added capacity enables Vick to offer cured sweet potatoes year-round.

“Vick Family Farms cures its sweet potatoes for seven to 10 days at temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees with 80-90 percent humidity,” he said. “Curing causes sugar-creating enzymes to develop that make sweet potatoes taste sweet. After curing, we store the potatoes at 55-60 degrees for the rest of the year until the new crop is harvested.”

The bagging machine, added in the last year, puts sweet potatoes into three-pound bags. Experience shows, Rascoe said, some supermarket consumers prefer to buy their sweet potatoes in bags rather than pick them from a bin, especially for the Thanksgiving holidays. “Right now our bagging machine runs at capacity for the holidays,” he observed, “but we hope it will steadily build into more consistent business throughout the year.”  

Food safety is a key concern, and Rascoe said each sweet potato bin is labeled so that its contents can be traced back to the field where they grew and the workers who were involved. The cartons contain labels that show when they were processed and by which workers, along with the bin number. “We track crop rotation, pesticide and fertilizer applications and harvesting crews,” Rascoe said. “Once a year we have a mock recall, where we check on traceability from the retailer back to the field.”

In the packinghouse, where skilled fork-lift drivers expertly jockey their loads from one point to another, some experienced workers have nine years’ tenure on the job. In addition to the bagging machine, other evidence of consumer preference can be found. For example, sweet potatoes are sized, and those too big or too small — or which have too weird a shape to appeal to retail consumers — are relegated to canneries, french fry factories, puree manufacturers or pet food pellets.

Rascoe noted that a sizable percentage of the cartons shipped have Süßkartoffeln printed on them — German for “sweet potatoes” — because they are destined for the growing export market. In any language, Vick Family Farms anticipates consumer demand, making friends before they are needed.

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

Vick Family Farms expands storage, adds bagging

WILSON, NC — Lyndon B. Johnson, the legendary master of the U.S. Senate, used to say that the time to make friends is before you need them. And the time to expand farming operations is before you need more space. That’s the approach Vick Family Farms here took last year, when spring rains foreshortened the 2013 sweet potato harvest. The family corporation invested in a new storage facility for year-round sweet potatoes and a bagging machine to spur consumer demand.

The move paid off.VICK11214-EXPORTIn the packinghouse at Vick Family Farms, a growing share of the 2014 sweet potato harvest is being exported overseas. These cartons, with Süßkartoffeln printed on them — German for ‘sweet potatoes’ — are being shipped to Amsterdam for German markets. Vick added 22,000 square feet of refrigerated storage space and was able to accommodate the back-to-normal abundance of the 2014 sweet potato harvest. The new storage facility gives Vick the ability to store 600,000 bushels on site, according to Hunter A. S. Rascoe, packinghouse and food-safety manager. Rascoe said the added capacity enables Vick to offer cured sweet potatoes year-round.

“Vick Family Farms cures its sweet potatoes for seven to 10 days at temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees with 80-90 percent humidity,” he said. “Curing causes sugar-creating enzymes to develop that make sweet potatoes taste sweet. After curing, we store the potatoes at 55-60 degrees for the rest of the year until the new crop is harvested.”

The bagging machine, added in the last year, puts sweet potatoes into three-pound bags. Experience shows, Rascoe said, some supermarket consumers prefer to buy their sweet potatoes in bags rather than pick them from a bin, especially for the Thanksgiving holidays. “Right now our bagging machine runs at capacity for the holidays,” he observed, “but we hope it will steadily build into more consistent business throughout the year.”  

Food safety is a key concern, and Rascoe said each sweet potato bin is labeled so that its contents can be traced back to the field where they grew and the workers who were involved. The cartons contain labels that show when they were processed and by which workers, along with the bin number. “We track crop rotation, pesticide and fertilizer applications and harvesting crews,” Rascoe said. “Once a year we have a mock recall, where we check on traceability from the retailer back to the field.”

In the packinghouse, where skilled fork-lift drivers expertly jockey their loads from one point to another, some experienced workers have nine years’ tenure on the job. In addition to the bagging machine, other evidence of consumer preference can be found. For example, sweet potatoes are sized, and those too big or too small — or which have too weird a shape to appeal to retail consumers — are relegated to canneries, french fry factories, puree manufacturers or pet food pellets.

Rascoe noted that a sizable percentage of the cartons shipped have Süßkartoffeln printed on them — German for “sweet potatoes” — because they are destined for the growing export market. In any language, Vick Family Farms anticipates consumer demand, making friends before they are needed.

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

Vision Produce expands chili pepper program

Vision Produce Co. has expanded its chili pepper program and announced the debut of its own grower direct deals that encompasses a year-round program with fields in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja Mexico in addition to Southern California.  20141210 111320

The first harvest was shipped the week of Dec. 8 and included Jalapeños, Pasilla, Serrano, Caribe and Tomatillo. In the spring, Vision will be adding Habanero and Manzanos to complete the full line offering.  All varieties will be packaged under the “California Chile Co.” and the “Rodriguera Farms” labels. 

“This was the next natural evolution in our ongoing goal to get closer to the source,” Donald Souther, vice president of marketing and sales development, said in a press release. “With the growing popularity of chili peppers, it was important for us to have our own product controlled from seed to distribution.” 

“This will allow us to have complete control over quality and availability to best service our growing customer base,” he said. “Certified Food Safety will accompany both labels as an additional feature.”

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

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season. The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group is one of the important supplier of Cherry tomatoes. Delassus is the owner of the exclusive brand Marrakech®. Under the Marrakech® brand, it is offering to Russian supermarkets: clementines, mandarins, cherry tomatoes and juices. Moroccan grower-exporter Delassus celebrates 65 years of exportations. The firm, which started out as a 100ha-holding supplying clementines and vegetables to France, now farms over 3,000ha in different areas across the country, operates five packhouses, handles juice processing facilities, employs 4,500 people and annually exports around 50,000 tons of produce, mainly citrus, cherry tomatoes and juices.

To date, 75% of Delassus cherry tomatoes are exported to the European Union (EU), mainly UK, and 60 % of clementines go to Russia. Delassus Group’s future plans concern all aspects of its business. The firm is planting more tomatoes to supply its Russian customers (some 50ha are on the way), and new orange groves are in the pipeline.

“Competition is getting stiffer every year especially as Morocco is improving its production of clementines and tomatoes,” says Delassus Marketing Director, Fatiha Charrat. Other producing countries are experiencing the same developments. We must boost produce demand outside the EU. Citrus consumption outside the EU 15, for example, remains very low: EU: 5.4kg per capita per year; Eastern counties: 3.8 kg per capita.  So there is still a lot to do.”

In 1960 Moroccan suppliers of citrus and the Russian market started under a clearing system.  Clementines were traded for machinery or other Russian items. Since then, the Maroc® label became the top quality symbol for citrus. It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season.

The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group will also continue to invest in its extensive tutoring program for employees’ children. Delassus launched its not-for-profit Sanady Foundation in 2006 with the aim of improving education within the local worker community. “ It is a real win-win relationship for the three parties: kids, employees and Delassus,” says Ms Charrat. “The program is a promise to kids and parents for a better life. Each year, more kids start the program. In 2006, 57 kids started the program. This year we have 4 000 kids. The need of the foundation is likely to grow each year.”

For more information:
Fatiha Charrat
Delassus Group
Tel: +212 665 186 868
[email protected]
www.delassus.com

Publication date: 12/8/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season. The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group is one of the important supplier of Cherry tomatoes. Delassus is the owner of the exclusive brand Marrakech®. Under the Marrakech® brand, it is offering to Russian supermarkets: clementines, mandarins, cherry tomatoes and juices. Moroccan grower-exporter Delassus celebrates 65 years of exportations. The firm, which started out as a 100ha-holding supplying clementines and vegetables to France, now farms over 3,000ha in different areas across the country, operates five packhouses, handles juice processing facilities, employs 4,500 people and annually exports around 50,000 tons of produce, mainly citrus, cherry tomatoes and juices.

To date, 75% of Delassus cherry tomatoes are exported to the European Union (EU), mainly UK, and 60 % of clementines go to Russia. Delassus Group’s future plans concern all aspects of its business. The firm is planting more tomatoes to supply its Russian customers (some 50ha are on the way), and new orange groves are in the pipeline.

“Competition is getting stiffer every year especially as Morocco is improving its production of clementines and tomatoes,” says Delassus Marketing Director, Fatiha Charrat. Other producing countries are experiencing the same developments. We must boost produce demand outside the EU. Citrus consumption outside the EU 15, for example, remains very low: EU: 5.4kg per capita per year; Eastern counties: 3.8 kg per capita.  So there is still a lot to do.”

In 1960 Moroccan suppliers of citrus and the Russian market started under a clearing system.  Clementines were traded for machinery or other Russian items. Since then, the Maroc® label became the top quality symbol for citrus. It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season.

The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group will also continue to invest in its extensive tutoring program for employees’ children. Delassus launched its not-for-profit Sanady Foundation in 2006 with the aim of improving education within the local worker community. “ It is a real win-win relationship for the three parties: kids, employees and Delassus,” says Ms Charrat. “The program is a promise to kids and parents for a better life. Each year, more kids start the program. In 2006, 57 kids started the program. This year we have 4 000 kids. The need of the foundation is likely to grow each year.”

For more information:
Fatiha Charrat
Delassus Group
Tel: +212 665 186 868
[email protected]
www.delassus.com

Publication date: 12/8/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Alliance Retail Group expands to 630 members

Alliance Retail Group, Nashville, Tenn., said Tuesday the number of independent supermarkets it serves has risen to 630 in 19 states, with combined retail volume exceeding $ 3.5 billion.

ARG is a self-negotiating cooperative for members of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan., that specializes in vendor negotiations, advertising services and technology services for its members.


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According to Joe Wolf, ARG president, the alliance has added more than 130 stores since April, when it opened an office in Overland Park, Kan., to strengthen its position in Middle America. “That momentum continues to strengthen our negotiating position on behalf of our retailers,” he said.

At the time it opened the office, ARG said it represented 525 independent supermarkets in nine states with aggregated sales volume of $ 3 billion. The company was established in January 2004 with 56 stores supplied by AWG.

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California Giant expands consumer network with new blog

California Giant, a Watsonville, CA-based shipper of a full line of berries, has unveiled a new blog to continue its emphasis on consumer engagement to build brand loyalty.

The new blog http://thebuzzblog.calgiant.com is a stand-alone tool using new methods of permission-based marketing that attracts consumers, converts them into leads and ultimately builds brand evangelists. The new format of permission-based marketing is a tool California Giant will ultimately convert all of its online tools to in 2015 as it focuses even more on better serving the consumer that is buying their berries.

“Our Buzz Blog is a great place for sharing news, recipes, tips, videos and more,” Cindy Jewel, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “Consumers subscribe to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings at California Giant Berry Farms, and keep coming back for new content. Each time we learn more about their preferences and make sure we are on point to provide information they specifically want, which keeps them engaged and feeling a personal connection to our company.”

The beautiful photography on the site grabs consumers immediately, but the content on the new blog maintains their attention with everything from promotions and prize-winning opportunities, to freebies and giveaways, recipes and cooking ideas, nutritional information and health news.

California Giant also provides opportunities for consumers to learn about philanthropic opportunities and events the company and staff participates in as well as what is happening on the farm. A key new element that boosts readership and continues to expand the database of consumers is the opportunity to check out great posts and recipes by guest authors, the company’s favorite food bloggers.

The bloggers are constantly feeding the Buzz Blog with new content, great photography and seasonal information featuring California Giant berries.

 

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

California Giant expands consumer network with new blog

California Giant, a Watsonville, CA-based shipper of a full line of berries, has unveiled a new blog to continue its emphasis on consumer engagement to build brand loyalty.

The new blog http://thebuzzblog.calgiant.com is a stand-alone tool using new methods of permission-based marketing that attracts consumers, converts them into leads and ultimately builds brand evangelists. The new format of permission-based marketing is a tool California Giant will ultimately convert all of its online tools to in 2015 as it focuses even more on better serving the consumer that is buying their berries.

“Our Buzz Blog is a great place for sharing news, recipes, tips, videos and more,” Cindy Jewel, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “Consumers subscribe to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings at California Giant Berry Farms, and keep coming back for new content. Each time we learn more about their preferences and make sure we are on point to provide information they specifically want, which keeps them engaged and feeling a personal connection to our company.”

The beautiful photography on the site grabs consumers immediately, but the content on the new blog maintains their attention with everything from promotions and prize-winning opportunities, to freebies and giveaways, recipes and cooking ideas, nutritional information and health news.

California Giant also provides opportunities for consumers to learn about philanthropic opportunities and events the company and staff participates in as well as what is happening on the farm. A key new element that boosts readership and continues to expand the database of consumers is the opportunity to check out great posts and recipes by guest authors, the company’s favorite food bloggers.

The bloggers are constantly feeding the Buzz Blog with new content, great photography and seasonal information featuring California Giant berries.

 

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

Family Fare expands in North Dakota

SpartanNash on Monday said it would hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies at three North Dakota sites this week where it has rebranded SunMart stores to its Family Fare banner.

The stores — two in Fargo and one in Moorhead — are former SunMart sites into which SpartanNash invested $ 5 million in renovations.


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The conversions follow similar rebannerings earlier this year in West Fargo and Dickinsion, N.D., resulting from last year’s merger of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores and Minneapolis wholesaler Nash Finch. SunMart was Nash Finch’s former banner.

The three new stores have opening ceremonies planned for Thursday.

Ted Adornato, SpartanNash EVP of retail operations, oversaw the stores’ redevelopment.



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Wawona Packing expands Listeria-related recall

Wawona Packing Co. of Cutler, CA, is expanding its July 19 voluntary recall of whole white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, plums and pluots due to the potential of the products being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The July 19 recall covered specific lots of products packed June 1-July 12, but Wawona has expanded the recall, as a precautionary step, to cover all products packed in the Wawona Packing Co. facility from June 1-July 17 because the company’s experts have yet to identify with scientific certainty the source of Listeria monocytogenes in the facility.

Beginning on July 18, no products have been packed at the Wawona Packing facility in Cutler. Products packed on or after July 18 outside of the Wawona Packing Co. facility are not affected by this recall.

Wawona Packing shipped the recalled products directly to retailers and wholesalers who resell or further distribute the products. “Because we do not know the locations of the companies or stores that received the products from our direct customers, the company is issuing a nationwide recall,” Wawona announced in a press release.

Wawona Packing has already notified its business customers of the expanded recall, and requested that they remove the additional recalled products from commerce. Wawona Packing is voluntarily recalling these products in consultation with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The July 19 recall was initiated based on internal company testing. The company shut down the packinglines, retrofitted equipment, sanitized the facility and is working with experts on Listeria in making further improvements to the food-safety program.

“Our packinglines in the Cutler, California facility will not reopen until we know, in consultation with experts, that they are safe,” the company stated in the release.

“Wawona Packing believes in the highest standards of food safety,” Brent Smittcamp, company president, said in the release. “We have been working around the clock to determine the source of the Listeria monocytogenes. We have brought in nationally known experts in food safety to investigate every part of our packing facility, and we are working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.”

Consumers can identify the recalled products by the information provided in the linked photographs. The recalled products include the following brands marketed to consumers: “Sweet 2 Eat,” “Sweet 2 Eat Organic,” “Mrs. Smittcamp’s,” and are also packed in private labels.

These brands will be on the boxes or on the stickers placed on individual fruit. Anyone who has the recalled products in their possession should not consume them and should discard them. If consumers are seeking reimbursement, they should return to the store where they purchased the product to request a refund, providing proof of purchase or receipt if available.

Consumers with questions may contact Wawona Packing’s consumer information desk at 888/232-9912 or visit www.wawonapacking.com.

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

Minnesota E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Applebee’s Reportedly Expands

The investigation into the E. coli O111 outbreak that has sickened at least 13 people in Minnesota has reportedly expanded with two cases in two other unnamed states, according to communications between NBC News reporter JoNel Aleccia and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC has declined to identify the two additional states until health officials can confirm the link between those cases and the Minnesota outbreak cluster. The agency is assisting the other two states with their investigations.

The E. coli strain involved in the Minnesota outbreak also appears to not genetically match anything yet seen in the CDC’s national pathogen database, PulseNet. The pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern is new to the agency, the spokeswoman said.

The Minnesota Department of Health originally reported the outbreak of 13 cases on Monday. Because the cases don’t all share an obvious commonality, officials believe the outbreak was caused by a “widely distributed food item.”

Seven of the 13 people sickened reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants in the state between June 24 and 27. But the other six cases have no apparent connection to the restaurant chain.

Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota have fully complied with the health investigation, removing their Oriental Chicken Salad and related ingredients from menus as a cautionary measure. Health officials have not determined the exact source of the outbreak and have not suggested that anything from Applebee’s is definitively the cause.

E. coli O111 is a harmful and potentially deadly strain of E. coli related to the more widely known E. coli O157:H7. Symptoms of infection include stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, which can be bloody in severe infections.

Minnesota health officials are asking anyone who believes they fell ill with an E. coli infection and ate at an Applebee’s restaurant after June 20 to contact a healthcare provider and inform them of their possible connection to this outbreak.

Food Safety News

Metro expands organic CSA partnership to 19 stores

Nineteen Metro Inc. stores will serve as drop-off points for a community-supported agriculture program in the province of Quebec this summer.

Metro has again partnered with the Equiterre Family Farmers Network to distribute baskets of fresh vegetables that are certified organic or in the process of becoming certified.

Customers can sign up through the producers to pick up their weekly delivery at the 18 participating Metro stores and one Super C store.

“This association is in the spirit of the Local Purchasing Policy announced by Metro in May of 2013, one of the three guiding principles of which is to make Metro a prime showcase for regional products,” Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director, corporate affairs, said in a media release. “We are proud to work with Equiterre, an organization known for supporting ecological agriculture in Quebec, in carrying out this one-of-a-kind project.”

This is the third year Metro has partnered with Equiterre. The program lasts through October.

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Metro expands organic CSA partnership to 19 stores

Nineteen Metro Inc. stores will serve as drop-off points for a community-supported agriculture program in the province of Quebec this summer.

Metro has again partnered with the Equiterre Family Farmers Network to distribute baskets of fresh vegetables that are certified organic or in the process of becoming certified.

Customers can sign up through the producers to pick up their weekly delivery at the 18 participating Metro stores and one Super C store.

“This association is in the spirit of the Local Purchasing Policy announced by Metro in May of 2013, one of the three guiding principles of which is to make Metro a prime showcase for regional products,” Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director, corporate affairs, said in a media release. “We are proud to work with Equiterre, an organization known for supporting ecological agriculture in Quebec, in carrying out this one-of-a-kind project.”

This is the third year Metro has partnered with Equiterre. The program lasts through October.

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Metro expands organic CSA partnership to 19 stores

Nineteen Metro Inc. stores will serve as drop-off points for a community-supported agriculture program in the province of Quebec this summer.

Metro has again partnered with the Equiterre Family Farmers Network to distribute baskets of fresh vegetables that are certified organic or in the process of becoming certified.

Customers can sign up through the producers to pick up their weekly delivery at the 18 participating Metro stores and one Super C store.

“This association is in the spirit of the Local Purchasing Policy announced by Metro in May of 2013, one of the three guiding principles of which is to make Metro a prime showcase for regional products,” Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director, corporate affairs, said in a media release. “We are proud to work with Equiterre, an organization known for supporting ecological agriculture in Quebec, in carrying out this one-of-a-kind project.”

This is the third year Metro has partnered with Equiterre. The program lasts through October.

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