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Eliminating out-of-stocks requires attention to detail

If you went to an automobile dealer and the salesperson told you, “Sorry, we’re all out of cars,” what would you do? Without a doubt, you would go to another automobile dealership.

Prior to the July 4 holiday, I was shopping at a supermarket for a planned family cookout. Upon entering the produce department, it was evident that several displays were depleted. I immediately had a bad feeling about my shopping list.1-OOSOut-of-stocks, which can originate at various levels of the supply chain, can cause millions of dollars in lost sales annually.

As I approached the corn display, I was surprised to see it was totally empty. I asked a nearby clerk if it was going to be restocked soon and was told, “Sorry, we’re all out of corn until our delivery tomorrow.” All out of a popular summer favorite for the holiday at 1 p.m.?

Besides the sweet corn, several potato varieties were unavailable, the mushroom section was just about wiped out and the cherries that were on ad were down to only eight bags remaining in the display.

Having a retail supermarket mentality, and especially as a former director of produce, this scenario disturbed me.

An “out-of-stock” is an item that a customer wants to purchase but is not physically available to them at the time of shopping. Out-of-stocks cause millions of dollars in lost sales annually.

When customers are asked why they did not make supermarket purchases of items they wanted, the majority respond by saying that the items were not on displays.

Retail businesses surrender approximately 4 percent of sales due to items not made available for consumers to purchase. With some retailers, that number is even higher. It may not sound like much, but with stringent budget pressures these days, a mere 1 percent improvement could make a great difference in achieving the numbers.

One of the most important functions of a produce department is to keep fully stocked at least the top 20 popular items that customers want to buy the most. Nothing is worse than customers seeing holes and breaks throughout the department while shopping.

Out-of-stocks can originate at various levels of the supply chain, from the grower, shipper and wholesaler to the distribution center, warehouse and, of course, the supermarket.

Here are some basic causes of out-of-stocks and how to avoid them:

Careless ordering — Making out a rush order will cause out-of-stocks every time. Not considering all the essentials like sale items, holidays, special promotions and weather opens the door to running out of product. Prevent it by taking time to calculate specific items on hand as well as checking past history and current trends. Plan and write solid intelligent orders to do ample business.

Stocking oversight — A delay in replenishing displays will rapidly lead to an empty hole. Keep close attention to fast sellers, especially basics like bananas, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Always be ready to restock your most popular items repeatedly.

Space allocation — A small display will sell less product, and if it contains a top-20 item, it will quickly lead to an out-of-stock. Avoid allowing every item to be allotted the same amount of display space. Expand on those that customers want the most.

Inaccurate data — Incorrect inventory counts at the warehouse or store level can distort the numbers required in ordering product. Buyers and produce managers need to double check and concentrate on accuracy. This applies to product suppliers as well as retailers.

Layout compliance — Failing to follow the company produce plan-o-gram layout can lead to possible out-of-stocks. Each item is assigned a specific amount of allocation space. If space on faster-moving items is less than shown on the layout plan, that item could easily lead to an out-of-stock. Adhere to the size of item space according to the company plan-o-gram.

Inventory and shrink control — These programs are necessary, but can also lead to running out of product. When management hangs tough on reducing inventory assets, produce managers frequently become overly cautious in writing an order. This can cause item shortages. Be sensible and smart by using skills in accommodating programs as well as satisfying customers’ needs.

We have been wrestling with stubborn out-of-stock situations for many years. It’s understandable when weather plays havoc on crops and causes a supply disruption. Outside of that, each level of the supply chain has to be more diligent in getting the goods to consumers.

This is where the responsibility lies on everyone. Reducing out-of-stocks can mean the difference in meeting sales and profit budgets, but mostly in satisfying customers.

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

Seattle outbreak sparks nationwide public health alert

Overnight, the Seattle Salmonella outbreak traced to pork from Kapowsin Meats broke into a nationwide public health alert about the use and consumption of whole hog roasters prepared for barbeque.

The health alert was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and specifically concerns concerns about illnesses  caused by Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.

On July 13, FSIS was notified of the Kapowsin Meats investigation in Seattle. The Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS on July 19 of confirmed case patients involved in an illness outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-.

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.

Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and local health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a possible link between the roaster hogs for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats and this illness cluster.

Based on epidemiological investigation, three Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from July 5, 2016 to July 7, 2016. Traceback investigation indicated that three case-patients consumed whole hog roasters for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats. It is not known at this time if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance; results are pending.

This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with public health partners at the Washington State Department of Health, local health agencies and the CDC on this investigation. Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

FSIS moved forward with a Public Health Alert because company representatives were not available to participate in a recall committee conference earlier in the day. FSIS is working with the company to identify specific products to be removed from commerce. In the meantime, FSIS recommends the following guidance associated with roasting pigs.

Roasting a pig is a complex undertaking with numerous potential food handling issues. FSIS urges consumers to keep the four food safety steps in mind: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

  • CLEAN: Obtain your pig from a reputable supplier. Have the supplier wrap it in plastic, or a large plastic bag to contain the juices. Keep the pig cold until it is time to cook it. If you can’t keep it under refrigeration or on ice, consider picking it up just before you are ready to cook it.
  • SEPARATE: Anything that comes into contact with whole pig should be washed with hot soapy water afterwards. This includes hands and utensils.
  • COOK: FSIS recommends that all pork products are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145º F with a three minute rest time. Make sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in numerous places, including near the bone. Check the temperature frequently and replenish wood or coals to make sure the fire stays hot. Remove only enough meat from the carcass as you can serve within 1-2 hours.
  • CHILL: Once the meat is cooked, transfer to clean serving dishes. Pack leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate within 1-2 hours. It is not necessary to cool before you refrigerate it.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume pork and whole hogs for barbeque that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F with a three minute rest time. The only way to confirm that whole hogs for barbeque are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

For whole hogs for barbeque make sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in numerous places, including near the bone. Check the temperature frequently and replenish wood or coals to make sure the fire stays hot. Remove only enough meat from the carcass as you can serve within 1-2 hours.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.

Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

Recommendations for Preventing Salmonellosis:

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry and egg products and a separate one for fresh produce and cooked foods.

Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal for groundmeat is 160º F, and 165º F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

Food Safety News

Southeastern Grocers reveals innovative store concept

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of BI-LO, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores, unveiled its new Harveys Supermarket store concept July 20. With a focus on great value, stunning quality food and serving with personality, this store has been tailored to the Charlotte, NC, community and continues Southeastern Grocers’ extensive store remodel program for 2016.harvey

Despite the fact that Harveys has more than 90 years of heritage in the Southeast, this will be the first Harveys store to open in North Carolina. The store reflects the supermarket’s commitment to meeting the unique tastes and needs of the communities in which it operates.

“Charlotte is a vibrant city that is growing and changing quickly, and we recognized an opportunity to provide a fresh store for this community,” Ian McLeod, president and chief executive officer of Southeastern Grocers, said in a press release. “While our store is undergoing dramatic changes and improvements, our commitment to providing great value and service to our customers will remain our top priority, as we continue to invest in lower prices and new jobs for Charlotte.”

The refreshed Charlotte location offers enhancements throughout the new and improved Harveys store, including a refreshed produce department featuring quality produce from farmers throughout North Carolina.

The new Harveys store will also unveil a new pricing campaign called Low and Staying Low. Similar to the Down Down campaign known by the BI-LO shoppers in Charlotte, prices have been marked down on the products that customers shop the most — and the prices are staying low for at least six months.

Any products that were on the Down Down pricing have been converted into the Low and Staying Low program, and shoppers at the new Harveys will actually benefit from an additional 350 products being marked down, for a total of more than 850 products offered at reduced price for at least six months.

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

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.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Food Safety News

Mann Packing to debut Tenderbite Beans, two Romaine hybrids

Mann Packing will launch three new items at the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey, CA, on July 31: Mann’s Tenderbite Beans and two new Romaine lettuce hybrids.mann

Mann’s Tenderbite Beans are a long, plank-shaped green bean variety not seen on the mass market in the United States since the 1970s. Also known as runner or Romano beans and popular in Europe, Tenderbite Beans are highly versatile due to their long length and heartiness. Previously found only in home gardens and occasional farmers markets, Mann’s is producing the variety for year-round availability.

“Tenderbite Beans really caught our eye when we saw them in Europe a year ago,” Rick Russo, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mann’s, said in a press release. “They’re great on the grill, slow roasted, or wrapped on a skewer — you can do so much more with these than your average green bean. So far, our customers have been really excited to see these coming back into the market.”

Mann’s is also introducing two new Romaine lettuce hybrids: RomaCrunch and RomaLeaf.  RomaCrunch, a cross between Romaine and Iceberg, has a small head and crunchy-sweet flavor. Its whole leaves are boat-shaped, making them an ideal vessel for protein salads, grains, or even desserts. It also stands up well to heat.

RomaLeaf is a true hybrid that blends the most appealing features of Romaine and green leaf lettuces. With more green leaves than Romaine and a texture crunchier than green leaf, it has excellent yield and impressive lift when used in salad bars, catering trays and sandwich building.

“With vegetables taking center stage on menus across the country, we’re doing what we’ve always done: create innovative products that give our customers better alternatives to what’s already out there,” Russo said in the release.

Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro in Monterey will be serving samples of recipes he has created using Tenderbite Beans and RomaCrunch, and all items will be on display in booth No. 110.



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

FirstFruits Marketing donates over 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington finished its sixth annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger program at select retailers with a collective donation of 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks. This brings the total program donation to approximately 1,600,000 pounds over six seasons.
TAB-logo 1 FirstFruits created Take a Bite Out of Hunger with the goal of helping feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. In its sixth year, FirstFruits continues to partner with retailers and wholesalers to make fresh apple donations. Donations are made in a retailer’s name to local food banks with the retailer contributing the cost of freight. This year’s participating retailers and wholesalers included Ahold, Charlie’s Produce, Dave’s Marketplace, Good Food Stores, Harvey’s, McKay’s Markets, Northwest Grocers, Red Apple Markets, Roundy’s, Stater Brothers, Super 1 Foods, Thriftway and United Supermarkets.
“The Take a Bite Out of Hunger program continues to grow every year thanks to the continued support and dedication from our partners,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits.  “Their participation is not just about the donation, but also about engaging and educating consumers about the issues surrounding hunger.”
Hunger isn’t just about being hungry. It’s about food insecurity, or not having regular access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods. As of 2014, 14 percent of all U.S. households were food-insecure according to the USDA. Of those, households with children reported food insecurity at a higher rate than those without children — 19 percent compared to 12 percent.
The Take a Bite Out of Hunger™ program provides full retail support with campaign-themed polybags and merchandisers, point-of-sale cards and ad slicks. At the conclusion of the program, local press is invited to cover the food bank donations.

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

Handling food for DNC convention: Just another day in the lab

When 400 pounds of samples from food bound for the Democratic National Convention arrived at a certain lab in Virginia, it was just another day at the office for scientists there.

Carrie Waggy chemical terrorism FERN

Carrie Waggy, chemical terrorism scientist on the Food Emergency Response Network team, prepares meat to be shipped to six labs across the country for testing in preparation for the Democratic national convention. (Photos by Christopher Waggener, the Virginia lab’s lead scientist for microbiology and training coordinator for FERN.)

It didn’t matter that the meat and poultry was part of the menu for the likes of convention delegates, political leaders and possibly the next president of the United States. The same precision, attention to detail and sense of urgency the scientists used for the Philadelphia-bound food is part of daily routine at Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.

“I hope the average Joe would realize that you don’t have to be running for president to have safe food,” said Angela Fritzinger, deputy director of the state’s consolidated laboratory.

“We do this every day to ensure the safety of food for the public.”

Fritzinger said for the convention food samples scientists at the Virginia lab were tasked with receiving, documenting, dividing and packaging it, before sending it to six other labs across the country for actual testing. As with evidence in a criminal case, the samples required a strictly documented chain of custody to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the tests.

Once the other labs in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) received the samples they were tested for pathogens such as E. coli and listeria monocytogenes, just like samples randomly pulled for testing from grocery stores by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

However, the convention food had to pass additional tests. Fritzinger said the meat and poultry was also tested for substances such as anthrax and the bacteria that causes botulism poisoning, as well as poisons such as arsenic and strychnine. The labs also checked the meat for any traces of radioactive substances.

Marc Carpenter, a USDA scientist who works with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), helps prepare samples to be shipped to six labs across the country from Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in preparation for the Democratic national convention.

Marc Carpenter, a USDA scientist who works with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), helps prepare samples to be shipped to six labs across the country from Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in preparation for the Democratic national convention.

Results of the tests were to be reported Friday, 10 days before the start of the July 25-28 convention. Fritzinger said she “couldn’t reveal the test results if she wanted to” because of national security concerns. If a problem was detected, the July 15 result deadline would have given convention organizers enough time to secure new food and have it tested.

Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services was also involved in food safety testing for food used at the 2012 political conventions and President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

The lab in Richmond, VA, is a back-up lab for the Republican National Convention that starts today and runs through Thursday in Cincinnati. Fritzinger said the staff will be on stand-by in case a need for emergency or surge testing comes up during the event.

A number of federal agencies are working to ensure the safety of the food at the conventions, according to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration. As is the case every day, the USDA is in charge of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and catfish, while FDA has jurisdiction over all other foods.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Food Safety News

Port of Savannah’s role strengthened by new PortFresh Logistics facility

The opening of PortFresh Logistics during the early fourth quarter of 2016 will strengthen the role the Port of Savannah in Georgia will play as an entry point for fresh produce originating in South America.

PortFresh Logistics is constructing a 100,000-square-foot cold-treatment facility dedicated to perishable cargoes.

“Our services will include cold storage, drayage, inspection — both USDA and in-house — full repacking and regarding capability, pre-cooling, import and export cross dock, on-site U.S. customs stations, third-party food certification, organic handling certification, grower services including sales, inspection and logistics, regional LTL services, fumigation services in partnership with Royal Fumigation, CTPAT and more,” Todd Huber, the company’s vice president of operations, told The Produce News.

PortFreshLogisticsPortFresh Logistics plans to open its new facility in the early third quarter of the year. The 100,000-square-foot cold-treatment facility will provide customers with a variety of services for perishable cargoes. Working with the Port of Savannah in Georgia, the facility is expected to create an additional entry point for fresh produce originating in South America. Photo courtesy of PortFresh Logistics.“Perishable foods are an important growth sector for the Georgia Ports Authority,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Port Authority.

PortFresh Logistics will create 40 new jobs upon its opening. That number is expected to increase to 75 full-time jobs by the fourth year of operation. The company will be led by Chief Executive Officer Brian Kastick and President Rebecca George.

Kastick provided some analysis of the role PortFresh Logistics will play to facilitate the distribution of perishables in the Southeast Corridor. “Currently, more than 90 percent of imported fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. East Coast arrive via Northeast ports,” he said. “That means cargo headed to the Southeast must be trucked down, adding time and expense to the logistics supply chain.

“Using the Port of Savannah offers significant time and money savings per container for areas throughout the Southeast region,” Kastick continued. “We believe the growing population of the U.S. Southeast, government policy changes and perishable industry consolidation will break open significant pent-up demand for the new perishable supply chain gateway built around the Port of Savannah.”

The PortFresh’s state-of-the-art facility will be situated on 20 acres of a 182-acre site specifically designed to allow multiple climate zones. Both import and export cargo will be handled. The facility is located on I-16 on Old River Road, seven miles from I-95 and 15 miles from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.

“Savannah is the fourth largest port in the U.S., with the Garden City Terminal being the largest single-terminal container operation,” Huber said. “The proximity of both PortFresh and Garden City to I-95 and I-16 allows for fast terminal truck turnaround. Combining that with lower fees and drayage costs will make this an ideal marriage for importing perishable cargo into the Port of Savannah. On the outbound side, Savannah has an ideal distribution footprint. The proximity to South and Midwest hubs that supply over 40 percent of U.S. consumers is reached better through the Port of Savannah than any major port along the East Coast.”

Huber added that domestic shippers will be able to realize advantages by utilizing the company’s storage and repacking services. “Also, CSX and Norfolk Southern both offer rail service to Garden City Terminal allowing our western U.S. shippers to come East at very competitive rates,” he said.

Huber said PortFresh Logistics will raise the bar on customer service. “Our hours of operation will revolve around customer satisfaction,” he said. “Our customers drive our business. They entrust their product to us. We will do everything possible to satisfy their needs and continually grow that trust.”

Negotiations to bring the project to fruition occurred over a three-year period. A grant from OneGeorgia Equity helped PortFresh defray infrastructure costs for water and sewer lines to the site.

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

Bayer ups bid for Monsanto

German multinational seed and crop protection company Bayer has increased its offer for U.S. giant Monsanto Company by US$ 3 per share, while also offering a hefty payment if a deal falls through on antitrust grounds.

The bid represents a 2.5% rise on the previous rejected bid of US$ 122 per share, in addition to the US$ 1.5 billion reverse break-up fee now on the table.

In an announcement today, Bayer said it had engaged in private talks with Monsanto over the past several weeks, making the US$ 125 offer verbally on July 1 and formally on July 9.

Bayer reaffirmed that its offer provides transaction certainty and would not be subject to a financing condition.

A Syndicated Loan Facility Agreement sufficient to provide the entire transaction financing is ready and prepared to be co-underwritten by five banks (BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JP Morgan).

“We are convinced that this transaction is the best opportunity available to provide Monsanto shareholders with highly attractive, immediate and certain value. Bayer is fully committed to pursuing this transaction,” said Bayer CEO Werner Baumann.

“Bayer believes that its offer fully captures the intrinsic value of Monsanto, and shares the synergy benefits that the combination would create. The revised offer represents a premium of 40 percent over Monsanto’s closing share price on May 9, 2016,” the Bayer statement added.

In a release, Monsanto confirmed it had received the revised offer.

“The Board of Directors of Monsanto will review the proposal, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors,” the release said.

“Monsanto will have no further comment until its Board of Directors has completed its review. There is no assurance that any transaction will be entered into or consummated, or on what terms.”


Hen House to Make Mozzarella In-Store [With Video]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All Hen House Market stores will begin selling store-made fresh mozzarella on July 5, the retailer announced on its Facebook page.

Associates gathered today to learn to pull the cheese, which Hen House documented in a Facebook photo album and a Vine video.

The retailer’s Facebook fans reacted favorably to the news. “Delish,” said one fan.

There are 11 Hen House locations, operated by Ball’s Food Stores, in the Kansas City area.

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California Giant brings a taste of Wimbledon to New York

New Yorkers almost forgot what city they were in this week as they experienced a real grass tennis court, tennis pros, and real fresh strawberries and cream right in the middle of Manhattan.

California Giant Berry Farms, based in Watsonville, CA, partnered with HSBC Bank to bring the complete Wimbledon experience to locals and tourists in downtown Manhattan across from Madison Square Park facing the iconic Flat Iron Building.

berries-in-cartNew Yorkers were treated to more than 10,000 samples of fresh strawberries and real whipped cream.More than 10,000 samples of fresh strawberries and real whipped cream were being given to fans this week from California Giant-branded carts. Each container of berries carries a QR code linked to, providing consumers more information about California Giant and the longstanding Wimbledon tradition of fresh berries and cream.

As tennis fans, moms with kids, and business people enjoyed their berries, they had the opportunity to watch matches on the grass court between pros Monica Seles and Jim Courier in doubles matches against young tennis players enjoying the experience. Additionally, monitors were set up so people could watch the real Wimbledon matches while enjoying other interactive activities.

“With summer officially upon us and our strawberry season peaking now, this is a great time to interact with consumers and build brand loyalty,” Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for Cal Giant, said in a press release. “Additionally, we tied in with several local restaurants in the area that are featuring our berries in Wimbledon-inspired menu items in support of the event.”

This is the fifth year that California Giant Berry Farms has partnered with HSBC Bank in New York City to launch Wimbledon activities in the U.S. to coincide with the beginning of match play in London.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

MA Restaurant Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Closed ‘Until Further Notice’

A number of cases of foodborne illness have reportedly been linked to food served by the Churrascaria Aveirense restaurant in New Bedford, MA, and local health officials asked the owners to close the restaurant until all employees have tested negative and the facility meets all food-safety requirements.

News reports stated that the restaurant, which serves Portuguese food and other dishes, closed Friday and there were handwritten notes on the door citing “a family emergency” and that the facility would be “closed until further notice.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently informed the local board of health in New Bedford that several persons have tested positive for Salmonella bacteria.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most of those infected will recover without treatment.

Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms is advised to contact their primary health care provider.

The Massachusetts state health department has issued an informational fact sheet on Salmonella and can be reached at (508) 991-6199 by anyone who wants more information about the situation.

Food Safety News

California citrus crop escapes frost damage

The much-feared devastating freezing temperatures didn’t quite materialize in California’s San Joaquin Valley over the last few nights, and consequently the California citrus crop experienced little damage.

Below-freezing temperatures did prevail for several nights, necessitating the use of frost-protection tools, but the needle didn’t drop low enough or the cold hang around long enough to produce serious damage.

For damage to occur to Mandarin oranges on the tree, temperatures need to stay below 32 degrees for at least four hours. Navel oranges, with their thicker skin, typically don’t experience much damage until temperatures drop to the mid-20s for that four-hour threshold.

Many citrus-growing areas did see temperatures drop into the 20s but only for short periods of time. And most growers were able to use wind machines and irrigation systems to raised grove temperatures a few degrees during critical periods.

On the morning of Jan. 1, California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen said that growers had survived what ended up being the worst of the nights.

“Growers initiated frost protection by 10 p.m. (the night before) in most cases,” he said. “No doubt the early start helped keep temperatures higher throughout the night and with lows not reaching 26 degrees, except in the coldest unprotected areas, we conclude it was a long night but a safe night.”

He added that producers of Mandarins and lemons ran their equipment for about 10 hours that night, with Navel orange growers needing about six hours of frost-protection action.

Some of the areas that typically get the coldest have already been harvested.

“Thirty days makes a difference,” Nelsen said. “Last season a major freeze event occurred the first week of December, thereby creating much more vulnerability for the industry. The past 30 days significant tonnage was harvested from those historic areas of low temperatures, thereby eliminating potential loss.”

The lower cost of fuel this year also helped in the battle as the cost of running the wind machines was considerably less than a year ago.

As the new year dawned, warmer temperatures were in the forecast for the next week and citrus harvest and packing operations were expected to return to normal levels.

The crop estimate for the 2014-15 Navel orange season is 78 million cartons in the San Joaquin Valley and another 5 million cartons in Southern California. Approximately 25 percent of the orange crop has been harvested.

Mandarin tonnage is estimated to be 50 million five-pound cartons this year and approximately 70 percent of the crop remains on the tree.

The California lemon crop has been estimated at 45 million cartons with the vast majority of the lemon tonnage in Ventura County and still on the tree.

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

Programs connect consumers to locally grown products

New York state government is sending a strong message to consumers in the Empire State, encouraging them to take advantage of the Empire State’s rich agricultural heritage and bounty. The message: buy local.

Launched in 1996, the Pride of New York program has branded New York agricultural commodities by providing instant recognition for products grown and consumed in New York. “Be part of the Pride. Look for products displaying the ‘Pride of New York’ logo when you shop and support your neighbors — BuyLocal2Farmers’ markets provide consumers with community-based opportunities to purchase fresh produce grown in New York. Seen here is the Union Square Farmers’ Market. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)the generations of family farms and food processors who have made New York state one of America’s leading suppliers of food and agricultural products,” the Pride website states.

Last year, approximately 2,800 members participated in the Pride of New York program. Participants include farmers, food processors, vineyards and wineries, retailers, foodservice organizations, wholesalers and distributors, agri-tourism destinations, culinary arts programs and related trade associations.

Restaurants have actively embraced the program and continually promote locally grown products on their menus and in advertisements. A rich heritage of ethnic diversity and culture has earned New York the solid reputation as one of the most “foodie” locations in the nation.

On May 21, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that consumers can easily locate a wealth of information about local businesses using New York-produced commodities by visiting www.Open.Ny.Gov. The comprehensive open data portal was launched this past March and continues to be updated.

“With summer right around the corner, I encourage New Yorkers to pick up fresh produce at a local farmers’ market, raise their glasses at a local brewery, or visit a neighborhood vineyard, and support our state’s growing agriculture, tourism and beverage industries,” Cuomo said. “The state now offers a wide breadth of information on on local farmers’ markets, wineries, breweries and distilleries, helping New Yorkers, tourism officials and local governments to bring new customers to our state’s small businesses.”

Several interactive maps — including links to New York’s farmers’ markets as well as all retail stores licensed by the New York Department of Agriculture & Markets — are available at the website.

In March, the governor also announced that $ 285,000 was made available for the third year of the “FreshConnect” program, which brings fresh food from New York farms to underserved communities in the Empire State. The purpose of the program is to increase the sale of locally grown food products, improve nutrition and promote economic development. The program fosters development of new farmers’ markets and supports existing markets located within communities in need.

“The FreshConnect program has been a real success in promoting healthy living while supporting the state’s vibrant agricultural industry,” Cuomo said. “This year, the program will provide even more avenues for low-income New Yorkers to purchase affordable, healthy and locally grown food. We are also continuing to support more marketplaces where local farmers can sell their goods and expand their operations. Through this program, more New Yorkers can eat healthy, and New York farmers can sell more products. That is what FreshConnect is all about.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Dog Chews Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination

Barkworthies of Richmond, VA, is recalling select lots of Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on May 6, 2014. The product can be identified by the Lot Code printed on the side of the plastic pouch. This product is being recalled as it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.


Lot Code: 1254T1

Size: 16 oz. Plastic Pouch

Best Used by Date: May 2016

UPC: 816807011510

The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in a single lot of the product. This batch tested negative by a third-party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers. No additional products are affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products, and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy, pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

Food Safety News

Whole Foods, Big Y provide gluten-free support

Big Y, Whole Foods and Roche Bros. have partnered with the New England Celiac Organization to host gluten-free support groups in their stores.

Whole Foods holds the free one-hour meetings once a month in its Glastonbury, Conn., store, as well as a few of its Massachusetts and Rhode Island stores.

Big Y hosts the meetings the first Tuesday of each month at its Westfield, Mass., unit.

Carrie Taylor, Big Y’s chain’s corporate dietitian, leads the group as a NECO volunteer.


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“The partnership made perfect sense since they were looking to expand their reach outside of Boston and appreciated having a health-care provider lead a group,” Taylor told SN.

Taylor typically presents an agenda or topic to discuss. For example, for the holidays, she hosted a holiday recipe swap. In addition, attendees can ask any eating/condition-related questions they may have.

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