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Lead contamination spurs recall of water bottles from L.L. Bean

Thousands of insulated water bottles designed for children and sold by L.L. Bean are under recall for lead content because the Chinese manufacturer used the wrong kind of solder material.

Insulated water bottles designed for children are being recalled because of lead contamination. The four above patterns and one below are all included in the recall.

Insulated water bottles designed for children are being recalled because of lead contamination. The four above patterns and one below are all included in the recall.

About 6,700 of the recalled bottles were sold online, at retail stores and through the L.L. Bean catalog from July 2015 through May of this year, according to the recall notice on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.

“The lead solder at the exterior base of the bottle contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues,” the July 21 notice states.

“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled water bottles and contact L.L.Bean for a full refund.”

When sold, the recalled 13.5-ouncerecalled L.L. Bean kids water bottle insulated water bottles carried label stickers with the item identification number 297684 on the bottom of each bottle. The stickers also had the codes “PO#844” and “BB2D2-LLB-R45-0413.”

The bottles were available in five printed graphic patterns:

  • Dino Bones;
  • Flower Power;
  • Orange Grid camo;
  • Purple Tie Dye Butterfly, and
  • Robo Shark.

“Routine testing by the manufacturer resulted in a positive reading for the presence of lead on the outside bottom of the bottle where the outer vacuum layer is sealed,” according to a statement on the L.L. Bean website.

“It was determined that some of the water bottles provided to L.L. Bean were erroneously sealed on the bottom with a solder bead containing lead instead of the lead-free solder bead originally specified. This could potentially expose the user of the bottle to the lead seal on the outside bottom of the water bottle. For your child’s safety, immediately stop using the water bottle and return the bottle to L.L. Bean,” the company stated.

GSI Outdoors Inc. of Spokane, WA, imported and distributed the Chinese water bottles, according to the recall notice.

Federal officials warn that even very low levels of lead can harm children.

“Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Food Safety News

Norovirus is parked down the road from GOP convention

Those attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland should have little to worry about when it comes to a norovirus outbreak more than a hour away in Sandusky, OH.

The 11 staffers who were stricken are members of the advance team for the California delegation.The first illnesses began before the largest delegation arrived. By the time the California delegates arrived, quarantines were underway to keep those stricken advance team members away from them.

RNC-2016-logoThe resort hotel where the Californians are staying is in Erie County, OH, where Health Commissioner Peter Schade is charged with investigating the outbreak.

Shade says the Erie County Health Department has isolated the 11 who are ill and has taken steps to prevent the spread of norovirus to rest of the California delegation. Tests are underway to confirm norovirus as the cause of the illnesses.

The first to become ill was an advance team member, who then infected her husband. The resort hotel where the delegation is staying has a large indoor waterpark, which is seen as a favorable environment for norovirus.

The California delegation received emails early in the morning of the first day of the convention with instructions on precautions to take. The hotel set up hand sanitizing stations throughout the property.

Norovirus can be spread by food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms including both diarrhea and vomiting along with stomach pain and nausea, typically beginning in 12 to 48 hours after exposure. Most people recover in one to three days. The advance team members are being asked to wait 24 hours after they are feeling better before getting back buses to Cleveland.

The convention ends Thursday night when Donald Trump is scheduled to accept the GOP nomination for President of the United States.

The United States experiences 19 to 21 million cases of norovirus annually, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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Food Safety News

Seattle Salmonella victims ate pork from Kapowsin Meats

Eleven people who attended a July 3 event in Seattle and ate pork provided by Kapowsin Meats became sick and health officials say they have laboratory evidence linking them to a Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened almost 200 people and was traced to pork from Kapowsin Meats.

The Good Vibe Tribe Luau July 3 included pork from Kapowsin Meats, which was linked to a five-state Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened 192 and resulted in a recall of more than 115,000 pounds of whole pigs.

The Good Vibe Tribe Luau July 3 included pork from Kapowsin Meats, which was linked to a five-state Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened 192 and resulted in a recall of more than 115,000 pounds of whole pigs.

“We know that the pork served at the luau was supplied by Kapowsin Meats, and we know that everyone who got sick after the luau had eaten the pork that was served there. We also know that the genetic fingerprints of cases in this outbreak match the fingerprint of the Salmonella outbreak cases from last year,” according to a Tuesday afternoon update from Public Health of Seattle and King County.

The five-month, five state outbreak in 2015 sickened 192 people, with 30 having symptoms so severe they required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In August 2015 Kapowsin Meats of Graham, WA, recalled more than 115,000 pounds of whole hogs in connection with the outbreak of Salmonella I 4, [5],12:i:-and Salmonella Infantis.

The current outbreak is among attendees of the July 3 Good Vibe Tribe Luau. As of Tuesday, six people had been confirmed with Salmonella infections. Five others had symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection but were not tested, according to public health officials. All reported eating pork at the event, however no foods have been ruled out as possible sources.

“If you or a family member attended this event, even if you did not get ill, please take a few minutes to complete (this) survey. Comparing food histories between those who became ill and those who did not can help us determine what might have caused illness and prevent others from becoming sick,” public health officials said in an investigation summary posted Monday.

“The typical incubation period (the) time between exposure to the bacteria and symptom onset for Salmonella is one to five days, so if you attended the event and have not yet developed symptoms, it is unlikely you will become ill.”

Public Health of Seattle & King County reported food for the event was catered by Mojito, 7545 Lake City Way NE. Inspectors from the department checked the facility July 13 and inquired about food sources and preparation methods.

“Understanding where food came from and how it was prepared allows health officials to determine how food might have made people ill and, if necessary, to trace back to the food’s point of origin if specific food items are suspected,” according to the outbreak investigation summary.

This photo was posted on the Good Vibe Tribe Facebook page July 3.

This photo of roasting whole pigs was posted on the Good Vibe Tribe Facebook page July 3.

Good Vibe Tribe is a “non-profit organization that utilizes our social reach by creating unique events that bring people together to produce positive change,” according to the group’s Facebook page. According to the page, 2,900 people were invited to the July 3 event at Golden Gardens Park.

Public health officials reported receiving initial Salmonella case reports for the current outbreak on July 11, 12 and 15.

Salmonella infection is often spread through the fecal-oral route, through contaminated food and water, or through contact with animals and their environments, according to public health officials. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that is often bloody, headache, fever, chills and abdominal cramping. Illness typically lasts several days and people can spread infection to others even after symptoms resolve.

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Food Safety News

McDonald’s cuts tomatoes from burgers in parts of India

Even though tomato prices have risen in India, the company said the decision was prompted by quality issues. 

McDonald’s customers in northern and eastern India will have to make do without sliced tomatoes for the time being, the Times of India reported. McAloo Tikki

The story reported a notice was displayed on McDonald’s outlets by operator Connaught Plaza Restaurants, notifying temporary unavailability meant it was unable to include the standard vegetable.

The notice said unpredictable condition had affected the crop, quality and supply, the story reported.

“We are working towards resolving this issue,” a spokesperson for McDonald’s India (North & East) was quoted as saying.

“We are making do with lettuce and onions. We are waiting for supplies to resume,” an executive at a McDonald’s outlet in central Delhi told the publication.

The story reported wholesale market tomato prices rose 17% year-on-year in June, while a similar trend had been seen in retail.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

FreshFruitPortal.com

Letter From The Editor: Vilsack in the Veepstakes

Taylor’s Maid Rite in Marshalltown, IA had a real friend in Thomas James “Tom” Vilsack, 40th Governor of Iowa.

He gave them a waiver from state food safety laws to allow a 1920s-style cooking vessel risking cross contamination in the production of loose meat sandwiches. There’s no record of anyone being sickened taylor'smaidrite_406x250or killed by the Vilsack waiver. His loose food safety enforcement for loose meat was in effect during much of his term, from 1999-2007.

Iowa’s next Governor, Democrat Chet Culver, eliminated the Vilsack waiver for  Taylor’s.   Iowans love their loose meats and  other older Maid Rites may have been in on the waiver.

It’s an ironic little story because, as we all know, Vilsack went on to become Secretary of Agriculture with responsibility for food safety of  meat, poultry, eggs, and since March 1, catfish.

It was  looking like Vilsack  would remain as Secretary of Agriculture right up to the hour of Obama’s departure from office next Jan. 20, about 187 days from now.

But in recent hours,  there have been reports that this long-time friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton could be tapped as the Democratic nominee for Vice President. This will all work out in the next few days. But as long as the possibility is there, it gives up the opportunity to dish up dirt on Vilsack for the “feeding frenzy” that is sure to follow if he does get the job.

We wonder, for example, how many of the nation’s ace political reporters know that Congress made a law back in 1993 that says the President shall nominate someone who, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate,  shall serve as USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety.

But guess what?   We don’t have one.

Tom Vilsack-featuredSince Dr. Elisabeth Hagen left government three years ago, there has not been an Under Secretary for Food Safety. Nor has anyone been nominated, let alone confirmed. No one talks about it, but it’s pretty clear it goes unfilled on purpose.

Washington political writers have already depicted Vilsack as a dull white guy who may have some agribusiness contacts but that’s about all he has going for him,  other than his long friendship with the Clintons. But tell me, does a dull guy play fast and loose with loose meat and dare to flout the law requiring the naming of an  Under Secretary for Food Safety?

I think not.

Vilsack cuts a cerebral figure atop the behemoth USDA with its $ 140 billion budget reaching  into every corner of the country. But underneath, he’s a prospective  vice president who likely wants it bad.   He’s probably be a lot like Joe Biden, just with less chortling

The principal qualification to be a modern day vice president is simply the ability to grovel.  It did not use to be that way. Harry Truman could drink bourbon down at the Capitol until FDR assumed room temperature. But the change came when Jimmy Carter gave Walter Mondale a White House office. From then on the vice president as his own man was out and the groveling vice presidents have been in.

Vilsack’s groveling was demonstrated to be a good as it gets. Most of Michaelle’s Obama’s early initiatives fell upon Secretary Vilsack, everything from the “Let’s Move” obesity project to the White House garden fell on USDA’s people and budgets to pull off.

And the childhood friend says Tom and Christie Vilsack are Iowa’s “sanitized” version of Bill and Hillary Clinton. One never knows if a candidate for President wants the pressure of being held up to any kind of standard.

These are, after all, the highest offices in the land.   Shouldn’t that be enough?

 

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

Letter From The Editor: Stampeding to Greeley

One of the strengths of Food Safety News is that it is not all in one place. Since its inception, Food Safety News kept a presence in Washington D.C., Seattle, and Denver. In addition of course we’ve used contributing writers and freelancers from all points on the map.

I’ve always thought geography is important. Even in our wired world, who and what we see and do in the physical world remains critical to how we view the real world.  It is in that spirit that I feel compelled to disclose that I have traded Denver or at least its massive arch of western suburbs for Greeley.

I think this is going to be good for me, and for Food Safety News. Let me tell you why and then I will give you the lay of the land.

Relocating to Greeley is going to put me in touch with more people who are potential sources for stories. Not only is Weld County one of nation’s major farm counties practicing irrigated agriculture on a massive scale with waters flowing from the nearby Rocky Mountains, but also Greeley is major food production center, especially dairy and beef.

The North American headquarters of JBS is located in Greeley, along with one of the company’s biggest beef processing plants with a history that dates back to 1960.

Now I am not the first to be attracted to this concentration of food and agricultural activity. Harvest Public Media is already here doing good work. It is a collection of NPR affiliates, including KUNC in Greeley, dedicated to covering farm and food issues.

While Denver will remain only an hour away, I am told you have arrived in Northern Colorado when you do not go down that road casually.  Greeley and its neighboring cities of Fort Collins and Loveland aren’t Denver suburbs and you don’t need to go anywhere.

Greeley was of course named for Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune and his agriculture editor, Nathan Meeker, who was the one who invited applications for “A Western Colony” that would be formed at the confluence of the South Fork and Cache la Pourde Rivers. More than 3,000 responded and Meeker took only the best of best.

The Greeley he built was so straight-laced and orderly that local historians say the jail was used only to store buffalo hides. While Horace Greeley apparently only visited the city named for him once, in 1870, it was a resounding success. Forty years later, the Great American Desert, with those mountain waters had turned surrounding Weld County into a true Garden of Eden.

There seems to be an endless fascination to how Greeley works.  The city did not allow liquor by the drink until 1969, but its sense of order did not please everyone.

Sayyid Qutb, radical leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, left Greeley after a stint at the Colorado State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Colorado) feeling that western culture was too materialistic and barbarian. He apparently did not like seeing young men and women holding hands or going to dances.  Qutb’s reaction to Greeley, some say, is what brought on Al-Qaeda.

We’ve arrived during the 91st running of the Greeley Stampede, a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) event by day with country stars by night. Put me down for Josh Turner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Trace Atkins.

There will be time enough to finish moving and unpacking when the rodeo leaves town.

Food Safety News

FDA to Block Pomegranate Seeds from Turkey Linked to Outbreak

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.

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 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.

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

Removing Fat, Sugar and Salt from the School Snack Menu

Sugary drinks and junk food are out, while flavored water with no calories and fruit cups are in. At least that’s the “Smart Snacks in School” rule USDA-promulgated Thursday under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.

Smart Snacks, according to USDA, are science-based nutritional incentives designed to get kids to choose healthier options, including more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits and vegetable and leaner protein.  Foods high in fat, sugar and sodium will be harder to find in the schools.

With the snack rule, the federal government is opening a second front in its war on childhood and teenage obesity.  It has already imposed calorie-cutting guidelines on participants in the National School Lunch Program.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has been championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.  Improving nutrition in schools goes hand-in-hand with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which encourages more physical activity for youths who are more likely to be spending their time on computers than bicycles.

Thousands of schools have already tossed junk food and colas out of their vending machines and retail stores, but now all the estimated 100,000 elementary, middle and high schools that accept assistance from the National School Lunch Program will have until the 2014-15 school year to comply with the new snack rule, published Thursday in the Federal Register.

The rule sets limits for fat, salt and sugar in school snacks. USDA dropped its controversial plan to apply the snack rule to such events as birthday parties, bake sales, and after school sporting and other event.

It is the first time in over 30 years that national snack rule standards for schools have been updated, according to Michelle Cardoso with The Pew Charitable Trust.

Pew and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are sponsors of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project that works on food safety and health of school foods. According to the project researchers, school snacks add 112 calories a day to the typical elementary school pupil’s diet.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture ‘s Smart Snacks in School rule is an important step for improving kids’ health, setting a minimum nutritional baseline for snacks and beverages sold in schools, said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. “Once those guidelines are fully implemented, the options available to students will be healthy ones.”

“Millions of students currently have widespread access to snacks and beverages that are high in sugar, fat, and sales, but limited access to nutritious options such as fruits and vegetables in school stores, snack bars, and vending machines, ” Black added. “With many students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, these new standards represent the kind of positive changes we need to help reduce obesity rates among children and teens.”

Black said the next step is for districts to implement the standards, using USDA’s rule as a baseline. “Offering nutritious snacks will help to ensure that the healthy choice is the easy choice for all students, ” she said.

The Kids’ Safe Project has also found children and teens gained less weight over three years if they already reside in cities or state where schools already have strong snack policies.

Making healthier options available in schools also has broad public support, work by the two foundations say. Almost all public schools and more than half of the nation’s private schools do participate in the National School Lunch Program.

Under the new USDA rule, snacks must be limited to 200 calories and include increases in protein, whole grains and nutrients.

USDA snack rule drew more than 250,000 comments when it went up for public review. Language that might have applied the rule to parent bake sales that are a common school fund raising tool drew plenty of response

Food Safety News

Letter From the Editor: No Celebrity Chefs, Please

Before turning back east, I stopped off in Seattle for 25 years during a period when the Emerald City seemed closer to Tokyo than New York. I remember learning from two Asahi Shimbun newspaper reporters of a TV show sweeping up in Japan called “Iron Chef.”

It would probably be another year before it was picked up on the Food Network on cable TV in Seattle so I could see “Iron Chef” for myself. It turned out to be the best group-watching since “Dallas.” Who can forget Chairman Kaga shouting out, “Allez cuisine!” (“Go cook!”) to get it all going in “Kitchen Stadium”? And, which “Iron Chef” would be up that night?

For a short time, it was all great fun. And, just as Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing on “Dallas” was one of those “all hat, no cattle” type of guys, so, too, was Takeshi Kaga, who played Chairman Kaga of “Iron Chef” fame. Before “Iron Chef,” he was already a well-known stage and movie actor in Japan, but he was not at all associated with cooking.

As the host, he had a corral of “Iron Chefs” who were the genuine talents, along with those brought into compete with them during any of the 92 episodes. Nevertheless, with all the lights and smoke, it was a really big show. It was ground-breaking in raising awareness about chefs in a way those more static cooking shows never did.

I’ve not seen “Top Chef,” which has been running for a decade or so on Bravo. It also features a competitive format but moves to a different location each season. It has apparently outdistanced the original “Iron Chef.” Meanwhile, the Food Channel has revived the Japanese program with “Iron Chef America.”

With food being both a segment topic for some networks and the complete package for others such as The Cooking Channel and the Food Network, the “celebrity chef” has become a fully developed phenomenon in popular politics and culture.

I could not care less about what they have to say. Beyond saying, “Thank you very much,” I think celebrities should be seen, but not heard. Act, or sing, or cook. Show me what you are known for and be gracious about it, but spare me your opinions about most anything.

Adding celebrity status to someone wearing a chef’s white hat also does not do much for me. Maybe if there were a long line of chefs, or even one or two, who have been known as food-safety leaders, I would think about it differently. But I cannot name one.

I know many chefs earn the title through extensive academic training and on-the-job experience. Also, I know others get the title from their brother-in-law, who owns the restaurant chain.

In preparing to write this, I’ve watched a number of interviews of celebrity chefs, and they share a common danger sign. I’ve not seen one that included a tough, or even unexpected, question. I’ve seen people asking the questions whose main concern is their access to the “celebrities.”

So spare me your press releases about what some celebrity chef thinks about this or that. Some chefs do entertain, and some chefs do know how to cook. Just do whatever you do in the kitchen, and we’ll have no problems.

Unless, of course, the health department shuts you down for unsanitary practices. Then we will be interested in what you have to say.

Food Safety News

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

Study: E. Coli From Feedlots Can Contaminate Produce by Air

New research finds that E. coli O157:H7 can spread more than a tenth of a mile downwind from a cattle feedlot onto nearby produce.

In the study, first author Elaine D. Berry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and her colleagues sampled leafy greens growing in nine plots (three each at 60, 120, and 180 meters downwind from the cattle feedlot at the research center) over a two-year period.

The rate of contamination with the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 declined with distance. There was an average positive sample 3.5 percent of the time at 60 meters and 1.8 percent at 180 meters.

The findings suggest that current buffer-zone guidelines of 120 meters (400 feet) from a feedlot may be inadequate.

Transmission of the pathogens is thought to be airborne. The researchers found E. coli in air samples at 180 meters from the feedlot, though the instruments were not sensitive enough to pick up E. coli O157:H7.

The highest levels of contamination on the produce were in August and September of 2012 after several weeks of very little rainfall and several days of high temperatures, conditions that appear to aid airborne transport of bacteria.

The research was published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Food Safety News

OTA applauds proposed rule exempting organics from check-off programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that organic farmers and handlers are exempt from paying into conventional commodity check-off programs, saying that it is an important step that recognizes the organic industry’s unique needs and lets the industry decide where the dollars are best spent.

“OTA has worked very hard to get this exemption on the books, and we are optimistic that this important regulation will now soon take effect,” Laura Batch, executive director and chief executive officer of the Organic Trade Association, the leading organization of the organic industry, said in a statement. “The organic sector is a fast-growing, distinct industry with its own unique demands for research and promotion. We’re pleased USDA is moving swiftly to allow the industry to use its money to grow and develop its own sector.”

National commodity research and promotion check-off programs, funded by producers of the specific commodity, have been a part of American agriculture for almost 50 years. There are now 22 national check-off programs in place, ranging from the oldest check-off program begun in 1966 for cotton, to one of the newest that promotes American-grown mangos. The iconic “Got Milk” and “The Incredible Edible Egg” campaigns are examples of promotion and education programs paid for by successful producer-funded check-offs.

The proposed exemption, which was expanded by Congress in the farm bill of 2014, would extend the exemption for organic farmers, handlers, marketers or importers from just the 100 percent organic label to the primary organic label (95 percent organic) and pertain not exclusively to farmers or handlers who work solely with organic products, but also to those who produce, process, handle and import both organic and conventional products.

The exemption from conventional commodity check-off program assessments is very significant for certified organic operations. The USDA estimates that not having to contribute to conventional check-offs will free up an extra $ 13.6 million for organic stakeholders to invest back into the organic industry.

“These additional savings that will be available as a result of this exemption can be used by organic farmers, ranchers and handlers to address everyday problems and to tackle issues that will help advance their businesses and the organic sector,” Batcha added in the statement.

The USDA proposed rule will also exempt eligible operations from paying into the portion of the assessment in federal marketing order programs designated for market promotion activities. There are 23 marketing order programs with market promotion authority.

The USDA published the notice of the proposed changes Dec. 16 in the Federal Register, with a 30-day public comment period.

“OTA is heartened by USDA’s quick action to get this provision implemented and to allow for a concise 30-day comment period,” Marni Karlin, vice president of government affairs for OTA, added in the statement. “It is the result of the clear and unambiguous farm bill language passed with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by the president. These important gains for organic farmers and the organic industry were achieved through lots of hard work by organic stakeholders.”

The 2014 Farm Bill also authorizes USDA to consider and hold a vote on an organic research and promotion check-off program if the organic sector submits to the agency an official proposal for an organic check-off. OTA has been gathering input from organic stakeholders for the past three years on how best to shape a check-off program that could effectively serve the industry.

The organic industry is experiencing booming times, with organic sales hitting a new record of over $ 35 billion in 2013. More than 80 percent of families in the U.S. now buy organic products.

“The successes in the organic industry have been enormous,” Batcha added. “However, there is still much that needs to be done in the way of educating consumers about organic, devoting more research dollars to organic agriculture, and helping farmers to convert to organic. Giving the industry more ability to invest in its future is very significant.”

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

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

The quick devaluation of the Russian currency is taking a big toll on exporters and will put huge pressure on many of them. Mr Avi Kadan, of the Israeli company Adafresh, states that “the big question is who will survive and who will not, depending on how much the Rouble will fall.”

This situation has coincided with yet another bad start for Israel’s pepper campaign. “The problem is that I don’t see alternative crops in the Arava Valley, but luckily, it’s only the start of the season; we have another four months to go, and if pepper prices are still reasonable with the new Rouble rates, we will be ok,” affirms Avi.

The key aspect to take into account is that Russia is a very important market for Israeli pepper growers, and Avi assures that Government funds may be needed to help palliate their debts. “The situation for exporters will depend on the percentage that the Russian market represented for them and who their clients were. Those trading with supermarkets in U.S. dollars, for example, will be in a good position.”

For Adafresh, the impact of the Russian crisis will not be as bad, as overall, Russia only accounts for 5% of the company’s business. “We have a strong partner with us and are Europe-oriented, but for sure, other companies lacking marketing channels may suffer.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, the situation is similar, and even a little better than last year. However, “a lot of peppers that were intended for Russia will now end up in Europe, so there is a risk the market may collapse,” states Avi.

This naturally has led Adafresh to look for opportunities in alternative markets, namely in America. “We used to be very strong there, until the air freight price became too expensive for us, but with the current oil price sea freight is an option and the U.S. is certainly becoming again a good option for November December, with the advantage that we won’t need to develop it from scratch,” concludes Avi Kadan.

For more information:
Avi Kadan
Adafresh
Email: [email protected]
www.adafresh.co.il

Publication date: 12/24/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Letter From the Editor: CA Law Likely to Increase Egg Prices, But What About Food Safety?

On Jan. 2, a new California law will require that shell eggs sold at retail in the state will come only from hens housed in larger cages, be they resident or non-resident hens. This change comes at a time when egg consumption and prices are both up to historic highs, an increase of 30-35 percent over this time last year.

The California experiment will likely create turmoil in egg markets and push prices higher in 2015. Californians might for a while even find egg counters empty.

The dirty little secret is that the California mandate will mean higher egg prices without buying much in the way of food safety. If we are going to up-end the egg industry with massively costly change, we might have done something more useful — such as invest in more pasteurized egg capacity. But food safety was not really part of the agenda for more elbow room for chickens.

California voters put the state’s egg producers on notice six years ago that, come Jan. 2, 2015, only eggs from hens in larger cages could be sold at retail in the state. Then, after hearing complaints about the disadvantage in-state producers would be under, the California Assembly amended the law to make it apply to out-of-state producers as well.

That was a first. Other states — Michigan, Oregon, and Washington — have adopted their own cage requirements, but only California is restricting trade from other states and foreign countries based on its rules for space requirements for chickens.

Before it took effect, opposing Midwestern egg-producing states were not getting much traction in federal court in California, but that may change once the market dislocation and higher egg prices kick in. Before the new mandate, California egg producers supplied only 1 in 3 eggs consumed in the state.

California consumers demand more eggs from somewhere, and there’s a lot of fog out there about whether enough caging capacity outside of California has been expanded to fulfill that demand within the new constraints of the law. Although they’ve been counting down the years to Jan. 2 since the initiative passed, the new California law does not seems to have had the required impact on how U.S. egg producers shelter their laying hens. And, as many as 95 percent of them might still use so-called battery-cage systems.

That figure might now be reversed within California. The mostly family-owned egg producers inside California have, in the past six years, made the capital investments to comply with Proposition 2 standards, which even they call “vague mandates on housing,” according to the Association of California Egg Farmers.

Changing out battery-cage infrastructure entirely in the U.S. would cost egg producers (or somebody) as much as $ 10 billion. The European Union move to so-called “enriched cages” became effective in 2012, although it is involved in litigation with about a dozen member states that have not gone along. EU producers reportedly spent more than $ 600 million on the changes.

Battery-cage infrastructure not only provides housing for the hens, but also are complex systems for feeding and watering, waste disposal, and collecting the eggs. Egg producers say battery cages help prevent disease and turn out cleaner eggs. Attempts to set a national standard for larger laying-hen cages failed both as standalone bills and as an inclusion to the 2014 Farm Bill.

My take is that, from a food-safety perspective, how cages are managed and operated is more important than design standards for cage sizes.

After the 2010 recalls over the big Salmonella outbreak involving Jack DeCoster’s Iowa egg farms, I was able to tag along with the teams of plaintiff lawyers and experts that the court allowed to go inside that part of the DeCoster kingdom. It was a bio-security area, meaning all these lawyers and experts had to dress up in those “sperm suits” with booties and mesh helmets.

Once inside, however, we all saw birds (including some chickens) freely flying about, rodents, and impressive amounts of manure. Some ares were more crowded than others. While the egg-laying and the feeding and watering continued in a house with about a half-million laying hens, one henhouse wall was literally being busted out from the pressure of all the manure that had been dumped behind it.

The wall was busting out because employees had fallen way behind in removing manure. One told me that heavy spring rains had made it impossible to get the chicken poop removed after it was stored up over the winter. He also said they were short-staffed. It became clear to me that the management and operation of egg-production systems should be the key concern.

It’s easy to think of the size of a cage in isolation, but that’s not realistic for large-scale egg production. These are huge systems that fill barns from floor to ceiling and wall to wall and represent a massive capital investment. Going into this change in California, we have consumers paying $ 4.49 per dozen for grocery store eggs. We can only guess how much more they are going to have to pay for bigger chicken cages.

But it is what it is. California won’t care how many eggs it breaks beginning Jan. 2. There will be all sorts of reactions over the law and treaties. But all that takes time, and everyday people eat eggs. Americans were on track to eat 266 each this year, or 23 dozen for each of us, according to the Egg Industry Center in Ames, IA. We ate five more eggs this year per capita than in 2013, and pricey beef and pork prices are also pushing up our egg consumption.

Every egg comes with some risk of Salmonella. Your risks go up if you often order sunny-side-up eggs, or if you have a taste for lightly soft-boiled eggs, or maybe you opt for Caesar salads. This applies to cage-free farms and even those backyard henhouses, which have been subject to a recent nationwide Salmonella outbreak.

Pasteurized eggs are available in the market. Lansing, IL-based Safest Choice, with an all-natural egg pasteurization process that eliminates Salmonella in eggs, appears to be doing nicely. The process does not change the nutrition or flavor. You can search the Safest Choice website for both nearby retailers and restaurants with pasteurized eggs.

But most eggs are sold raw. And the Salmonella risk is the same whether they are white or brown, conventional or organic. If this truly is the tipping point for somebody spending $ 10 billion to change out the housing for chickens, shouldn’t we get some improved food safety along the way?

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

Letter From the Editor: Naughty and Nice Nominations Now Due

Traditions mean more to us at Food Safety News than the town of Waging, Germany. You may have read about it. It’s the town in the Alps where the gentleman who long played Santa just decided to retire with no obvious successor.

The town decided to take this opportunity to dump Santa. It held a contest for teenage girls who competed to be the German town’s new Waging angel. Their hope is that the young angel will attract more holiday shoppers and tourists than their old, reliable St. Nick did.

During each of the five previous Christmas seasons that Food Safety News has been around, we’ve established publishing “Naughty and Nice” lists as one of our traditions. We’ve used the annual Naughty and Nice lists to call for extra recognition for those individuals who’ve done more or less for food safety than might be expected.

A lot about the Santa Claus story has evolved over the years. His bright red-on-white dress first appeared in a Coca-Cola advertisement that brightened up a Great Depression-era Christmas. Before that, Santa’s colors were blue, green, brown and gold.

Like Santa adopting those colors from Coke, he picked up the Naughty and Nice list from Nordic folk stories about a magician who rewarded good children while punishing the bad.

What this teaches us is that you don’t want to make wholesale changes in your Christmas traditions, but tweaks are acceptable. For our first five years, nominations for both the Naughty and Nice lists came entirely from the news and editorial staff of Food Safety News.

Either because he’s grown weary of our humor, or because he truly is a populist man of the people and friend to all, our publisher has suggested we open the nomination process to all Food Safety News readers.

So here’s the deal: If you wish to make one or more nominations to the Food Safety News Naughty or Nice lists for 2014, simply email me at [email protected]

We publish the lists on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so the sooner you send me your suggestions, the more likely they will be included. The key consideration is how the individual (preferred) or organization helped or harmed food safety during the year.

For reference, here are the Naughty and Nice lists from last year.

We wish Waging’s new town angel all the best. We just would never go that far.

Food Safety News

Australian Boy, 3, Dies in E. Coli Outbreak from Raw Milk

A 3-year old boy has died and four other children have fallen ill in an E. coli and Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to raw milk sold by a company based in Victoria, Australia.

The milk, Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, was labeled as being “for cosmetic use only” and “not for human consumption,” as well as “organic, grass-fed, ethical.”

Raw milk is illegal to sell for human consumption in Australia, but labeling it as a cosmetic product allows for it to be sold.

The five children sickened in the outbreak were between 1 and 5 years old. Three children, including the boy who died, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. The other two children came down with infections from Cryptosporidium, a pathogen that causes vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping.

Victoria’s minister for emergency services has reportedly called for an investigation into raw milk labeling, according to the Guardian. Regulators from around the country are also said to be discussing whether the product should be recalled or even banned.

Mountain View Organic Bath Milk has been sold for four years. These are the first illnesses connected to the product, according to the owner.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium sometimes found in milk.

Food Safety News

Wholesum Harvest earns ‘Best’ ratings from Whole Foods

Organic grower Wholesum Harvest announced that Whole Foods Market has awarded a “Best” rating to each of the company’s three farms as part of the grocer’s new Responsibly Grown program. The program is designed to help customers make more informed purchases by offering transparency about how their food is grown; it also rewards the growers who are taking steps to protect consumer health and the environment.

A “Best” rating indicates that Wholesum Harvest has demonstrated exceptional efforts to grow responsibly by preserving worker rights and promoting green growing practices — avoiding unhealthy agrochemicals and aggressively pursuing sustainability. Wholesum Harvest met the requirements for a “Best” rating, and even went above the standard by supplying produce that is also certified organic.

“We are honored that Whole Foods Market has recognized our commitment to the environment, our workers and our customers by awarding our farms with ‘Best’ ratings,” Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum Harvest general manager, said in a press release. “At Wholesum Harvest, our goal is to leave the Earth better than we found it. We’ve taken steps to conserve and reuse water in our greenhouses; we utilize solar energy as much as possible to supply the energy needs for our facilities; and we use natural methods of pest control rather than dangerous chemical pesticides. Additionally, we are Fair Trade Certified because of our work to protect the health, safety and economic interests of our employees and their families, and also to ensure their access to education and affordable housing. We operate our business this way because we know it to be right, but it is always rewarding and encouraging to be recognized for our hard work.”

Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Grown program can award growers ratings of “Good,” “Better,” or “Best” if they meet certain criteria. The rating system evaluates growers in the following areas: soil health; air, energy and climate; waste minimization; farm worker welfare; water conservation and protection; ecosystems and biodiversity; and advanced pest management. Growers must offer transparency related to the use of GMOs and may not utilize irradiation treatments or biosolids.

In addition, growers earning a “Best” rating must show that they protect pollinator health and demonstrate industry leadership in the areas of pest control and sustainability.

“Wholesum Harvest is proud to provide our customers with produce that is organic, delicious and responsibly grown,” Crisantes said in the release. “We applaud Whole Foods for its efforts to help consumers make informed choices in the produce aisle, while also encouraging growers to make better, healthier choices in their fields and greenhouses.”

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

Wholesum Harvest earns ‘Best’ ratings from Whole Foods

Organic grower Wholesum Harvest announced that Whole Foods Market has awarded a “Best” rating to each of the company’s three farms as part of the grocer’s new Responsibly Grown program. The program is designed to help customers make more informed purchases by offering transparency about how their food is grown; it also rewards the growers who are taking steps to protect consumer health and the environment.

A “Best” rating indicates that Wholesum Harvest has demonstrated exceptional efforts to grow responsibly by preserving worker rights and promoting green growing practices — avoiding unhealthy agrochemicals and aggressively pursuing sustainability. Wholesum Harvest met the requirements for a “Best” rating, and even went above the standard by supplying produce that is also certified organic.

“We are honored that Whole Foods Market has recognized our commitment to the environment, our workers and our customers by awarding our farms with ‘Best’ ratings,” Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum Harvest general manager, said in a press release. “At Wholesum Harvest, our goal is to leave the Earth better than we found it. We’ve taken steps to conserve and reuse water in our greenhouses; we utilize solar energy as much as possible to supply the energy needs for our facilities; and we use natural methods of pest control rather than dangerous chemical pesticides. Additionally, we are Fair Trade Certified because of our work to protect the health, safety and economic interests of our employees and their families, and also to ensure their access to education and affordable housing. We operate our business this way because we know it to be right, but it is always rewarding and encouraging to be recognized for our hard work.”

Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Grown program can award growers ratings of “Good,” “Better,” or “Best” if they meet certain criteria. The rating system evaluates growers in the following areas: soil health; air, energy and climate; waste minimization; farm worker welfare; water conservation and protection; ecosystems and biodiversity; and advanced pest management. Growers must offer transparency related to the use of GMOs and may not utilize irradiation treatments or biosolids.

In addition, growers earning a “Best” rating must show that they protect pollinator health and demonstrate industry leadership in the areas of pest control and sustainability.

“Wholesum Harvest is proud to provide our customers with produce that is organic, delicious and responsibly grown,” Crisantes said in the release. “We applaud Whole Foods for its efforts to help consumers make informed choices in the produce aisle, while also encouraging growers to make better, healthier choices in their fields and greenhouses.”

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