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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

Vietnam ban on AU produce imports likely

Vietnam ban on AU produce imports likely

Vietnam has decided to suspend imports of fruits from Australia for concerns over fruit fly, according to the Department of Plant Protection under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, director of the department, said imports of all 38 kinds of Australian fruits will be suspended from Jan. 1, 2015 to prevent fruit fly infestation as Australia is facing outbreaks of fruit fly which attack and damage fruits and vegetables.

Vietnam has sent an announcement to the Australian side in accordance with international regulations, said Hong.

He said quarantine work will be strengthened for fruit shipments on the way to Vietnam.

The imports will be resumed when no fruit fly outbreak is reported in Australia and if the country’s fruits meet quarantine requirements of Vietnam, reported the website of the Vietnamese government on Wednesday.

According to statistics by the Department of Plant Protection, in the first 10 months of 2014, Vietnam imported some 2,000 tons of fruits from Australia, mainly apples, pears, grapes and cherries.

Source: www.shanghaidaily.com

Publication date: 12/17/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Tree nut market likely to feel pinch from Putin’s retaliation

WASHINGTON – California-grown tree nuts may be hard hit by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban on food imports that went into place this week in retaliation to sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict.

Putin signed the Aug. 6 order that targets not only U.S. exports of fruits and vegetables but also a wide variety of foods originating from European Union countries as well as Canada, Australia and Norway. The one-year ban covers beef, pork, poultry, fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, cheese, milk and other commodities.

U.S. exporters shipped $ 1.3 billion worth of food and agricultural products to Russia in fiscal year 2013, and the leading categories include poultry/meat ($ 310 million); tree nuts ($ 172 million) and soybeans (147 million), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Russia ranks as the 11th largest export market ($ 138.6 million) for U.S. almonds and the sixth export market for pistachios ($ 30.9 million).

“That’s a pretty good chunk for our industry,” said Ken Gilliland, international trade director for Western Growers Association, based in Irvine, CA. “If suddenly that market disappears, it takes time to find other markets.”

Long-term contracts will have to be entangled, and the latest trade sanctions will have to be absorbed as California growers struggle with water issues.

Another market likely to feel some discomfort from the trade war is fresh fruits. Russia imported $ 35.6 million worth of U.S. tree fruits last year.

Russia ranks as the third-largest export market for pears ($ 12.1 million), and the 28th largest market for table grapes ($ 2.7 million).

But U.S. suppliers won’t be the only ones feeling the pain. The latest trade squabble may end up hurting Russian consumers more than U.S. businesses.

“It is unfortunate that the biggest losers in this will be Russian consumers, who will pay more for their food now as well as in the long run,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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

Tree nut market likely to feel pinch from Putin’s retaliation

WASHINGTON – California-grown tree nuts may be hard hit by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban on food imports that went into place this week in retaliation to sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict.

Putin signed the Aug. 6 order that targets not only U.S. exports of fruits and vegetables but also a wide variety of foods originating from European Union countries as well as Canada, Australia and Norway. The one-year ban covers beef, pork, poultry, fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, cheese, milk and other commodities.

U.S. exporters shipped $ 1.3 billion worth of food and agricultural products to Russia in fiscal year 2013, and the leading categories include poultry/meat ($ 310 million); tree nuts ($ 172 million) and soybeans (147 million), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Russia ranks as the 11th largest export market ($ 138.6 million) for U.S. almonds and the sixth export market for pistachios ($ 30.9 million).

“That’s a pretty good chunk for our industry,” said Ken Gilliland, international trade director for Western Growers Association, based in Irvine, CA. “If suddenly that market disappears, it takes time to find other markets.”

Long-term contracts will have to be entangled, and the latest trade sanctions will have to be absorbed as California growers struggle with water issues.

Another market likely to feel some discomfort from the trade war is fresh fruits. Russia imported $ 35.6 million worth of U.S. tree fruits last year.

Russia ranks as the third-largest export market for pears ($ 12.1 million), and the 28th largest market for table grapes ($ 2.7 million).

But U.S. suppliers won’t be the only ones feeling the pain. The latest trade squabble may end up hurting Russian consumers more than U.S. businesses.

“It is unfortunate that the biggest losers in this will be Russian consumers, who will pay more for their food now as well as in the long run,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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

Tree nut market likely to feel pinch from Putin’s retaliation

WASHINGTON – California-grown tree nuts may be hard hit by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban on food imports that went into place this week in retaliation to sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict.

Putin signed the Aug. 6 order that targets not only U.S. exports of fruits and vegetables but also a wide variety of foods originating from European Union countries as well as Canada, Australia and Norway. The one-year ban covers beef, pork, poultry, fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, cheese, milk and other commodities.

U.S. exporters shipped $ 1.3 billion worth of food and agricultural products to Russia in fiscal year 2013, and the leading categories include poultry/meat ($ 310 million); tree nuts ($ 172 million) and soybeans (147 million), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Russia ranks as the 11th largest export market ($ 138.6 million) for U.S. almonds and the sixth export market for pistachios ($ 30.9 million).

“That’s a pretty good chunk for our industry,” said Ken Gilliland, international trade director for Western Growers Association, based in Irvine, CA. “If suddenly that market disappears, it takes time to find other markets.”

Long-term contracts will have to be entangled, and the latest trade sanctions will have to be absorbed as California growers struggle with water issues.

Another market likely to feel some discomfort from the trade war is fresh fruits. Russia imported $ 35.6 million worth of U.S. tree fruits last year.

Russia ranks as the third-largest export market for pears ($ 12.1 million), and the 28th largest market for table grapes ($ 2.7 million).

But U.S. suppliers won’t be the only ones feeling the pain. The latest trade squabble may end up hurting Russian consumers more than U.S. businesses.

“It is unfortunate that the biggest losers in this will be Russian consumers, who will pay more for their food now as well as in the long run,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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

Pakistan likely to miss mango export target

Pakistan likely to miss mango export target

Pakistan may not reach its mango export target again this year. A lack of logistical capacity is being blamed, according to a statement released by Harvest Tradings over the weekend.

“The country may not be able to export approximately 150,000 tonnes,” said Ahmad Jawad, CEO, Harvest Tradings. He said the big problem with mango exports is that there aren’t adequate facilities to store mango shipments at Karachi and Lahore airports. Any flight delay affects the quality of the shipment. If the flight is delayed beyond 12 hours, the entire shipment can go bad, he added. Therefore, exporters avoid exporting fully ripe mangos, which usually fetch lower prices.

He says that airline increased freight charges soon after the commencement of the mango season. Last year the country missed its mango export target of 135,000 tonnes by 35%.

Pakistan is likely to get a bumper crop of mango of over 1.5 million tones, said Jawad.

Source: thenews.com.pk

Publication date: 6/24/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Aussie Listeria Tests Led to Recall of Likely Already Consumed California Fruit

Back in the day, before the fresh fruit and produce industry managed to kill it, the Microbiological Data Program (MDP) came under fire from growers for not providing timely results, sometimes resulting in recalls of fruit that consumers had already eaten.

That was 18 months ago and MDP — the joint venture of about 10 state labs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — dried up Dec. 31, 2012, when Congress withheld funding for the program, which cost only about $ 5 million a year. MDP did about 80 percent of the fresh fruit and vegetable testing in the U.S. and has not been replaced. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did the remaining 20 percent of the fruit tests.

FDA Fresh Fruit and Produce Testing, 2009-13

Fiscal Year Sum of Unique Samples
2009

6243

2010

5967

2011

5882

2012

5174

2013

7592

Total

30858

FDA fruit tests, including both domestically grown and imported produce, amount to only a tiny slice of the fruit and vegetables we consume. And the summer’s largest fruit recall to date illustrates how fresh produce is still being consumed ahead of the tests results — in those few instances where testing exists.

While MDP is gone, other parties doing independent testing on fresh fruits and vegetables are at least some foreign importers. In this case, American consumers can send their thank-you notes to the Aussies.

An Australian importer on July 10 confirmed trace amounts of Listeria in fruit from California’s Wawona Packing Co. It would take nine more days — most taken up waiting for additional laboratory testing — before the Cutler, CA, company opted to order the recall for fruit packed between June 1 and July 12.

Ironically, the Aussie importer’s test of just three peaches found each with traces of Listeria that are within the tolerance levels for both Australia and New Zealand. But once Wawona learned of the results, it had another problem: FDA has a zero-tolerance policy for Listeria.

So the company hired a private laboratory to take additional samples, both inside its packing facility and from its fruit. Wawona shut down packing operations July 12 while it waited for the lab results to be returned. During the next five days, until July 17 when the lab returned Listeria-positive test results from two peaches and one nectarine, the packing company conducted additional cleaning and sanitation for all packing equipment and facilities.

The lab did not quantify the Listeria levels on the fruit that tested positive, so Wawona asked for further testing, which came back negative. Also, none of the environmental samples from equipment and inside the packinghouse were positive.

Wawona, however, went ahead with the recall because it said it felt compelled to do so by FDA’s zero-tolerance policy. The company continues to insist that it believes the actual risk to public health from the recalled fruit is “very low.” And 72 hours after the initial recall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there were no Listeria cases associated with the Wawona fruit recall.

June and early July California-grown fruit was likely mostly consumed before the recall was announced due to testing lagging behind the fast delivery the fresh products require. In that sense, the Aussie importer was no better than MDP in getting ahead of the fruit crop.

However, it’s way too early to blow the all-clear horn because Listeria, a stubborn pathogen that withstands both heat and cold, also has a long incubation period. It can take up to 70 days after infection to the onset of illness. That means fruit consumed in June can make someone sick in September.

Food Safety News

Salmonella Outbreak Likely in Russellville, AL

A possible Salmonella outbreak is occurring in Russellville, AL, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

At least three people have confirmed Salmonella infections, while another nine cases are being investigated. The health department is currently looking for the source of the outbreak.

News of the outbreak broke when some patients reportedly contacted local news station WHNT News 19 claiming to have contracted Salmonella from a local restaurant.

Food Safety News

Salmonella Outbreak Likely in Russellville, AL

A possible Salmonella outbreak is occurring in Russellville, AL, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

At least three people have confirmed Salmonella infections, while another nine cases are being investigated. The health department is currently looking for the source of the outbreak.

News of the outbreak broke when some patients reportedly contacted local news station WHNT News 19 claiming to have contracted Salmonella from a local restaurant.

Food Safety News

Brazil’s Second Cow With BSE Is Likely An Atypical Case

The animal with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) recently found in Brazil was probably an atypical case, according to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory in Weybridge, England.

Atypical BSE, or “mad cow” disease, is a form of the prion disease not associated with the animal’s consumption of feed.

The finding means it is unlikely the World Organization for Animal Health will make any change in Brazil’s “insignificant” risk status for BSE.

Brazil moved much more quickly to report the collapse of the 12-year-old cow with “nerve disease” discovered at a slaughterhouse in the cattle-producing state of Mato Grosso than it did with its first case of BSE in 2010.

It took two years for Brazil to report the existence of the first investigation, which was also ruled by OIE to be an atypical BSE case.

The lab work showing atypical BSE was not conclusive, meaning that OIE has not closed the case. There’s never been a finding for a classic BSE case in Brazil.

More than a dozen countries temporarily banned Brazilian beef after the first BSE case, and this second case has already caused Peru and Egypt to impose new 180-day beef import bans. Others may follow.

Egypt, which buys about 10 percent of Brazil’s exported beef, limited its ban to the state of Mato Grosso. Peru’s purchases amount to less than 1 percent of Brazil’s beef exports, which totaled 1.5 million tons last year.

USDA surveillance since 2003 has found four BSE-infected cows in this country. The last was an atypical case in 2012 involving an animal from California’s central valley.

Food Safety News

US (GA): Light peach crop likely in May

With growers still assessing the damage from a freeze earlier this month, it’s likely that early volumes of Georgia peaches will be light in May.

“The crop in Georgia this year will be an interesting one,” said Will McGehee, director of marketing for the Georgia Peach Council. A freeze earlier this month has contributed to the unpredictable nature of this year’s season. Because it often takes peaches a while to show whether they will make it through low temperatures, McGehee said growers are still assessing the damage from the freeze that hit the state 10 days ago. As far as volume of fruit, there are still some unknowns about this year’s crop.

“There are going to be plentiful Georgia peaches in July and the first part of August,” said McGehee. “At this time, the crop in May looks to be light and the crop in June is still being assessed.” He added that prices at the beginning of the season are expected to be higher than normal, with demand at an all-time high.

For more information:

Will McGehee

The Georgia Peach Council

+1 478 822 9210

FreshPlaza.com

Dinner Rolls Likely Source of Salmonella Illnesses Linked to Minnesota Restaurant

Minnesota health officials have identified dinner rolls as the likely source of bacteria which sickened dozens of Old Country Buffet diners in Maple Grove, MN, in January.

The rolls were likely cross-contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis from raw chicken used in the restaurant, Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz reportedly said.

The state’s joint investigation with Hennepin County found that 36 people were probably sickened by the bacteria after eating at the restaurant between Jan. 11 and Feb. 11, with most of those who became ill eating there on Jan. 25. One person was hospitalized.

Since the outbreak occurred, the restaurant staff has been retrained about food safety and inspections have increased.

Salmonella is most often linked to undercooked eggs and poultry. Salmonella infections cause fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Food Safety News

California Assembly Likely to Repeal ‘No Bare Hands’ Rule

After California’s new regulation restricting food workers from handling ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands sparked an outcry, state legislators are trying to take it back.

The bill to repeal Section 113961 of the Health and Safety Code unanimously passed the Assembly’s Health Committee on Tuesday and will now go to a floor vote.

“A vast number of our local restaurants and bars raised serious concerns with this prohibition after the passage of this new law,” said Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) during the committee hearing.

He cited reports of inconsistent implementation of the exemption process, the expense of purchasing and disposing of thousands of gloves, and questions about gloves offering a false sense of security and increasing the risk of cross-contamination.

“If these concerns were raised before we passed AB 1252, the bare hand contact provision would have been eliminated from the bill,” Pan said.

The bill to repeal the controversial provision “resets this discussion” by replacing the prohibition on bare hand contact with food to the previous language which directed employees to “minimize” contact.

California health officials were planning to give restaurants six months to comply with the new rule before handing out violations.

The “no bare hands” rule is included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s model food code and has been adopted by many other states.

Food Safety News

“Spanish tomato prices likely to continue dropping in the UK”

Graham Cousins, marketing director of Comexa Europa:
“Spanish tomato prices likely to continue dropping in the UK”

With the winter tomato season coming to an end, volumes are dropping and prices are consequently on the rise. Vine tomatoes have reached an average of 1.05 Euro/kilo at origin and Pear tomatoes stand at around 0.80 Euro/kilo. Nevertheless, prices will once again drop as soon as Dutch tomatoes enter the market, “which will happen earlier this year due to this year’s warmer winter temperatures,” explains Graham Cousins, marketing director of the exporting company Comexa Europa S.L.

“Demand levels this year have been more moderate, with a particular preference for speciality and vine tomatoes over loose ones. We have obtained good prices for Vine, Cherry, Vine Cherry and Cocktail tomatoes,” he states.

“To sell larger volumes of loose tomatoes, we must seek to establish new programs with supermarkets; a task which will prove increasingly more difficult, especially in the United Kingdom, where distributors are more prone to work directly with the suppliers. We are witnessing a change in business strategies.”

Graham believes that prices are likely to continue dropping in the UK next campaign. “We foresee a price war between supermarket chains to gain market share. They even conduct promotional campaigns sometimes when supply levels drop, like in March.”


Furthermore, Graham thinks that British distributors are still too demanding in terms of quality, with strict colour and size specifications. “They can reject a batch of tomatoes simply for being one millimetre below the pre-established calibre. As a result, those of us working with supermarkets were occasionally forced to carry out the harvest before the tomatoes were fully ripe.”

In this sense, “our main competitor during the winter, Morocco, seems to be making progress in both quality and infrastructures, and they have the capacity to offer all sorts of calibres, which is ideal for supermarkets.”

Based in Javea, in the Spanish province of Alicante, and with offices also in Valencia, Comexa Europa S.L. is devoted to the export of Spanish tomatoes and peppers to countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.


Later this month, the company’s winter programs will end, although they will continue with decent volumes of Cherry tomatoes, which are distributed all year round.

For more information:
Graham Cousins
COMEXA EUROPA S.L.
C/Vicenza 21-14 Jávea, Alicante. Spain
T: +34 966 463 522
M: +34 609 816 422
[email protected]
www.comexaeuropa.com

Publication date: 3/14/2014


FreshPlaza.com

“Spanish tomato prices likely to continue dropping in the UK”

Graham Cousins, marketing director of Comexa Europa:
“Spanish tomato prices likely to continue dropping in the UK”

With the winter tomato season coming to an end, volumes are dropping and prices are consequently on the rise. Vine tomatoes have reached an average of 1.05 Euro/kilo at origin and Pear tomatoes stand at around 0.80 Euro/kilo. Nevertheless, prices will once again drop as soon as Dutch tomatoes enter the market, “which will happen earlier this year due to this year’s warmer winter temperatures,” explains Graham Cousins, marketing director of the exporting company Comexa Europa S.L.

“Demand levels this year have been more moderate, with a particular preference for speciality and vine tomatoes over loose ones. We have obtained good prices for Vine, Cherry, Vine Cherry and Cocktail tomatoes,” he states.

“To sell larger volumes of loose tomatoes, we must seek to establish new programs with supermarkets; a task which will prove increasingly more difficult, especially in the United Kingdom, where distributors are more prone to work directly with the suppliers. We are witnessing a change in business strategies.”

Graham believes that prices are likely to continue dropping in the UK next campaign. “We foresee a price war between supermarket chains to gain market share. They even conduct promotional campaigns sometimes when supply levels drop, like in March.”


Furthermore, Graham thinks that British distributors are still too demanding in terms of quality, with strict colour and size specifications. “They can reject a batch of tomatoes simply for being one millimetre below the pre-established calibre. As a result, those of us working with supermarkets were occasionally forced to carry out the harvest before the tomatoes were fully ripe.”

In this sense, “our main competitor during the winter, Morocco, seems to be making progress in both quality and infrastructures, and they have the capacity to offer all sorts of calibres, which is ideal for supermarkets.”

Based in Javea, in the Spanish province of Alicante, and with offices also in Valencia, Comexa Europa S.L. is devoted to the export of Spanish tomatoes and peppers to countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.


Later this month, the company’s winter programs will end, although they will continue with decent volumes of Cherry tomatoes, which are distributed all year round.

For more information:
Graham Cousins
COMEXA EUROPA S.L.
C/Vicenza 21-14 Jávea, Alicante. Spain
T: +34 966 463 522
M: +34 609 816 422
[email protected]
www.comexaeuropa.com

Publication date: 3/14/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Apple growers likely to beat export target early

TGF-FruitImageApple growers likely to beat export target earlyNew Zealand apple growers will probably reach $ 1 billion in exports ahead of their 10-year 2022 target as the industry benefits from higher productivity and rising prices.

The apple industry, New Zealand’s second-largest fresh fruit export after kiwifruit, has raised export prices to offset the negative impact of a higher New Zealand dollar on returns, said Gary Jones, business development manager at grower organisation Pipfruit New Zealand.

Better access to seasonal staff through a 2008 government scheme has helped orchard owners raise production.

New Zealand’s apple industry, which accounts for a quarter of the southern hemisphere’s fresh apple exports, is heading into its main three-month harvesting period.

Pipfruit NZ plans to drop its compulsory grower levy for research and development to 1 cent a kilogram this year from 1.25 cents last year as it benefits from the extra revenue gleaned from a larger crop.

“If we see more consistency of return like we have over the last couple of years and we see that for another year or so, I think we would have confidence in saying that we would easily achieve that billion dollar figure before 2022,” Jones said. “If we have another year or two like we have in the last couple we are likely to think that we have probably been a bit soft and needed to have brought that forward.”

New Zealand apples sell for a premium over rivals by as much as 20 percent and sales are benefiting from increased affluence in Asia and better access to markets, Jones said.

Apple exporters are exposed to the US dollar, Euro and British pound with gains in the New Zealand dollar crimping returns.

“We really really have been up against the currency in terms of trying to get returns,” Jones said. “We have been able to raise the premium in parallel with the increase in exchange rate. Everyone has cooperated to allow us to maintain enough margin to keep going as an industry and so we have been able to reinvest strongly in the business.”

Pipfruit exports were worth a record $ 500 million last year, spurring demand for nursery trees and root stock, he said. While pears are included in the pipfruit figures, they account for just 3 percent of the total, which is dominated by apples.

“At the moment there is money in the industry being used to reinvest in it and grow,” Jones said.

This year’s apple crop is expected to slip to 505,000 metric tonnes from 550,000 MT last year due to seasonal patterns which dictate a smaller harvest every second year following a frost in 2008. An estimated 308,000 MT are destined for export, from 325,000 MT last year, according to Pipfruit NZ.

Fruit will likely be larger and therefore more valuable this year, as trees produce fewer apples due to the biannual swing and warmer weather, Jones said.

The government’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, which enables Pacific Island workers to help with the harvest, has also boosted industry returns, Jones said. Orchard owners taking part in the scheme had raised production by a third and their orchard area by 20 percent over the past five years.

“It’s been transformational for the industry,” Jones said. “The RSE scheme has allowed us to be much more productive, allowing us to provide the fruit in optimum condition with optimum value and that has allowed us to capture a lot more value and allowed us to survive against the incoming tide of the exchange rate.”

Source: tvnz.co.nz

Publication date: 1/31/2014

 

FreshPlaza.com

Millennials Less Likely to Diet: Report

CHICAGO — Younger consumers are dieting less than the older generation of Baby Boomers, according to a report released Friday by The NPD Group here.

More than a quarter of all Boomers are on a diet, while only 12% of Millennials diet, the report found.


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“Millennials will diet more as they age, but the core dieters in this country are Boomers,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD. “But fewer of us are dieting. Americans are looking for other ways to define health.”

The report supports a long-term trend toward a decline in dieting, with 19% of adults reporting being on a diet in the last year, according to NPD’s National Eating Trends Service, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition, as well as actual eating and drinking habits. Dieting peaked in 1991 when nearly 30% of adults reported being on a diet during a typical two-week period.

Even though dieting is down, 57% of adults reported that they would like to lose 20 pounds.

“Dieting is difficult and requires a change in habits. Eating healthy or adding good foods in your diet is much easier,” noted Balzer.

According to NPD research, 72% of adults said they eat reduced-fat foods, nearly 45% of adults eat foods with whole grains on a regular basis, and 24% include organic foods and beverages in their diet.

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