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UK market pushes Spanish onions away

“Challenge to increase efficiency and adapt to market’s needs”
UK market pushes Spanish onions away

How can a small firm find a place within such a competitive market? According to Fermín Utrilla, of Allium Integral, the key is in differentiation and the search for niche markets.

“I tried to differentiate myself by looking for markets where the big companies did not arrive; that is how I developed red onion microbulbs to cover niche markets in the UK and extra early grano type microbulbs in Spain, which allow you to enter the market one month in advance. The key is to use the varieties and growing techniques, adapting to situations and specific market demands. Small firms like ours have a better capacity to adapt to changing markets, as big companies are generally occupied handling larger volumes.”

Fermín Utrilla is an agronomist with plenty of experience as a consultant at horticultural companies in the processes of production, processing, packing, preservation and implantation of quality management systems. Such businesses fell as a result of the recession, which led him to found Allium Integral 4 years ago; a firm devoted to the production, processing and selling of onions from Albacete, Spain’s largest production area.

Allium Integral produces red and Grano type yellow onions, with its own varieties created through hybridisation and later breeding of microbulbs.

“Our techniques for the creation and development of varieties through microbulbs are so interesting for onion producers that we felt compelled to open our own onion seed company as an associated firm to Allium Integral.”


The result of such work includes the red variety Red Emperor, which usually enters the market in August. “Our production from microbulbs can be harvested now, in late June. This way we can fill the gap that there was in the British market between the end of New Zealand’s red onion season and the start of the European campaign,” explains Fermín Utrilla.

“This, however, was only interesting until they allowed Egypt to enter Europe with rock bottom prices, and from there onwards the niche was no more,” he explains. “European supermarkets have double standards in the purchase of their products, demanding all sorts of quality and good agricultural practice certificates to EU producers, but nothing at all to third countries like Morocco, Turkey or Egypt, which offer prices against which nobody can compete.”


As for Grano type onions, European trends, according to Fermín, are increasingly more price-oriented. “Demand is so fragile that, even in a context of low supply, prices rise up to a certain point, and from there onwards they do not slow down gradually, as they used to, but they plunge.”

“The one factor that European producers can take advantage of is the decadent situation of Southern Hemisphere onion imports. The off-season supply from countries like New Zealand, Argentina and Chile keeps falling as a result of the high logistic costs. This is not felt as much in products with more value added, but the price differences are still noteworthy. For this reason, a country like Argentina exports most of its production to Brazil.”


The main market for Allium Integral is still the UK, where the program “Local for Local” has pushed Spanish onions away from supermarkets. “Spanish onions have always held a good position and superior prices in the Premium segment, for their mild flavour and characteristics that make them suitable for fresh consumption, unlike British onions, whose quality is much inferior.”

This, however, has been changing in recent years and supermarkets are replacing Spanish onions with the British counterpart, selling them at the same price as the former, which could be considered consumer fraud.”

For this reason, Fermín is finding more interesting markets to be able to adapt. “We have started in Algeria, which we find quite interesting, as they do not demand such high quality standards as the UK, allowing us to offer lower prices. Brazil is another interesting market for smaller calibres.”

“I believe the only way to survive nowadays is to adapt to the new market demands, which require us to reduce costs in order to reduce prices. For this it is necessary to be greatly efficient in all processes to obtain a quality that equals the cost,” concludes Fermín Utrilla.


For more information about Allium Integral:
Fermín Utrilla
T: +34 967245160
M: +34 670333363
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/25/2013


FreshPlaza.com

US (CA): Heat pushes back start of pomegranate season

Though many growers in California were anticipating a quick start to the pomegranate season, hot, dry conditions have pushed back harvesting. Picking is now expected to begin next week.

“People were saying this season could be early, but right now it looks like it could be just on time or even a little delayed,” said David Anthony of Ruby Fresh Pomegranates. “We expect to start Monday, October 6, but the season remains delayed due to a severe drought and high heat.” Warm weather has been a roadblock because pomegranates require cool night temperatures to achieve the right colour. Pomegranates don’t gain colour once they’ve been picked, so growers are hesitant to harvest their crop until the fruit achieves just the right colour. Dry conditions have also delayed picking because of the toll they’ve taken on trees.

“A tree goes into survival mode when it’s stressed,” said Anthony. “The drought has been stressing the trees, so the combination of that and the heat has slowed down the ability of fruit to colour and gain size.” With no fruit out of California yet, demand is high in anticipation of supplies that will come later this month.

“There’s a lot of demand right now,” explained Anthony. “So the market will be strong when the season begins, then them market will stabilize when there are good supplies during the second half of October.”

For more information:

David Anthony

Ruby Fresh Pomegranates

+1 559 933 0340

FreshPlaza.com

The Lempert Report: Instacart pushes online delivery (video)

Instacart, a San Francisco company that uses smartphone-equipped “personal shoppers” to provide home delivery from supermarkets in as little as an hour, is making significant headway.

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Instacart pushes online delivery (video)

Instacart, a San Francisco company that uses smartphone-equipped “personal shoppers” to provide home delivery from supermarkets in as little as an hour, is making significant headway.

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

Already registered? here.

Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Instacart pushes online delivery (video)

Instacart, a San Francisco company that uses smartphone-equipped “personal shoppers” to provide home delivery from supermarkets in as little as an hour, is making significant headway.

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

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Supermarket News

Group pushes back on latest Dirty Dozen report

The Environmental Working Group’s latest Dirty Dozen list unfairly targets apples and needlessly scares consumers about eating fresh fruits and vegetables, according to Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food & Farming.

For the fourth year, apples topped the list of most pesticide-contaminated produce, EWG reports in its annual Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

But Dolan says she’s disappointed that apples are “again being unfairly targeted,” and that reporters should contact “reputable scientists, government agencies and nutritionists for more information before jeopardizing the livelihoods of family farmers and needlessly scaring consumers.”

EWG focuses on the compound DPA that is applied to apples following harvest to prevent them from scalding during cold storage. The compound is monitored as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data program and has been detected well below tolerance levels, Dolan explains.

“The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report finds that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present,” she said.

Other fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet Bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and imported snap peas.

EWG recommends consumers buy only organic leafy greens — kale and collard greens — and hot peppers, as they were “frequently contaminated with insecticides.”

EWG also released the so-called Clean Fifteen list of conventional produce with the least amount of pesticide residues.

Avocados top that list, with only 1 percent of samples showing any detectable pesticides. Other items on the list include corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangos, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes, the report said.

“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principle author of the report. “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”

Dolan said the report is based on U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency studies that make clear the residues do not pose a food- safety concern.

In fact, EWG takes aim at government’s safety standards for conventional pesticides, but those same government agencies regulate organic pesticides using many of the same stringent standards, Dolan noted.

The alliance issued a statement April 29 asking its own questions about the report, such as why EWG does not offer a link to the press release on the USDA data program, why it uses outdated information and why isn’t the report submitted to peer review.

Bryan Silbermann, chief executive officer of the Produce Marketing Association and vice chairman of the alliance, addressed the report in an email to PMA members April 30. PMA funding “helps the industry counter misinformation about pesticide residues on fresh produce and science — the same foundation we use to continuously improve food safety,” Silbermann wrote.

The alliance added, “There is no other food group where there is uniform and widespread agreement among health experts that consumption needs to be substantially increased.”

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

Chilean Fresh Fruit Association pushes through challenging season

Karen Brux, managing director North America for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association in San Carlos, CA, said that she feels it is fair to say that this has been a very challenging season for everyone involved in Chilean fruit, from growers and exporters to importers, wholesalers and retailers.  

“In September of 2013, Chile was hit by its worst frost in over 80 years,” said Brux. “While avocados were greatly spared from its effects, most other fruits were damaged. Some commodities suffered losses of over 50 percent.Blackamber-plantaBlack Amber plums from Chile. (Photo courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association)

“Blueberries were still a bright spot with the Chilean Blueberry Committee projecting an increase in exports to the U.S.,” she continued. “However, in late December, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that Chilean blueberry exports would need to be fumigated due to detections of European Grapevine Moth in a few key blueberry growing regions.”

Brux said that exports of blueberries to the United States have, consequently, fallen by 32 percent year-to-date compared to last season.

Also hindering the Chilean fresh produce export movement this season was the Port of San Antonio’s three-week strike in January, which is a key shipping period for Chile.

“While other ports were still functioning during the strike, the temporary shutdown of San Antonio definitely posed some logistical challenges to exporters and importers and raised a number of questions from retailers who were getting ready to launch Chilean fruit promotions,” Brux added.

The CFFA has made necessary adjustments to its promotion program for the shortages this season, and it has still been able to support numerous retailers throughout the United States.

“Volume and pricing have been challenging, but with Chilean fruit playing such a dominant role in every retailer’s produce department they are eager to promote what they can and when they can,” said Brux. “With our regional merchandisers and customized marketing programs, we continue to work with retailers to design appropriate promotions.”

January’s port strike and the new fumigation requirements for Chilean blueberries basically disrupted the flow of Chilean fruit to the North American market. Brux said that things got back on track in late January, but due to last year’s frost there was certainly less fruit being shipped to North America.

Chilean growers’ challenge related to the new fumigation requirements on blueberries produced in the country, which are due to the European Grapevine Moth.  

Brux reiterated that fumigation was originally required prior to departure from Chile, but after further discussions and negotiations, the USDA started to allow fumigation to take place upon arrival to U.S. ports.

“This protocol started in early January,” said Brux. “The U.S. is Chile’s largest export market for blueberries, and we expect it will continue to hold this position in the coming years. Nevertheless, at least for now, fumigation is part of the new reality for anyone selling Chilean blueberries in the U.S. market.”

The season for Chilean fruit really never ends, Brux explained. The blueberry season was in its final stages in late March, and grape and stone fruit promotions are due to wrap up in April.

“But we’re here to promote all Chilean fruit, so if there are opportunities for apples, pears, kiwifruit or other items, we will certainly pursue what makes sense for the industry,” she said. “Also, the Chilean Citrus Committee will be supporting a North American marketing program, so we’re starting to put those plans in place. Citrus marketing programs will run from summer into fall. Once fall arrives planning for the next season of blueberries, cherries and all of Chile’s summer fruits will begin again.”

Some companies are riding the Chilean import strongly, and adding to it as products become available. On March 24, Oppy announced that its Chilean plum season will finish with a flourish when the exciting new fruit known as RR1 arrives in April. The RR1 is a late-harvesting, long-storing plum with yellow flesh that transforms to light red as it ripens. First planted in Chile in 2010, RR1 follows the popular Angelino variety in availability and can sustain the plum season well into May.

In its press release, Evan Myers, Oppy’s director of imports and stone fruit said, “We believe RR1 has excellent potential. Red plum supplies are ramping down. It’s exciting that our growers are producing such a great-tasting piece of fruit at a point in the season when demand is strong.”

RR1 is harvested at 17 to 19 Brix, delivering a sweet flavor balanced with just a hint of tang.

Oppy is a major importer of fresh Chilean produce, and North America’s largest-volume Chilean plum marketer. Myers noted that the company was looking forward to introducing RR1.

“Early indications suggest that our retail partners are anticipating this plum with as much enthusiasm as we are,” said Myers. “As volumes grow, RR1 can extend the plum season considerably longer, making the gap between import and domestic plum availability appreciably smaller.”

Oppy expects very modest volumes this season, but Myers forecasts exponential growth, which will be helped by the new and more inviting name for 2015; RR1.

Brux also serves as the marketing director for the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, commonly referred to by its acronym, CAIA. She said that Chilean avocados have had a wonderful season.

“We were originally anticipating a 30-35 percent volume increase over the 2012-13 season, but volume has more than doubled,” she said.

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

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

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Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

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Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

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Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Sep. 24, 2013 — About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic age ushered in one of the most dramatic periods of human cultural and technological transition, where independently, different world populations developed the domestication of plants and animals. The hunter-gatherers gave rise to herders and farmers. Changes to a more sedentary lifestyle and larger settlements are widely thought to have contributed to a worldwide human population explosion, from an estimated 4-6 million people to 60-70 million by 4,000 B.C.

Now, researchers Aiméa, et al., have challenged this assumption using a large set of populations from diverse geographical regions (20 different genomic regions and mitochondrial DNA of individuals from 66 African and Eurasian populations), and compared their genetic results with archaeological findings. The dispersal and expansion of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers.

They conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age. Therefore, hunter-gatherer populations were able to thrive with cultural and social advances that allowed for the expansion. The authors also speculate that this Paleolithic human population expansion may be linked to the emergence of newer, more advanced hunting technologies or a rapid environmental change to dryer climates.

Finally, they also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic. Indeed, the authors also demonstrate that the populations who adopted a sedentary farming lifestyle during the Neolithic had previously experienced the strongest Paleolithic expansions. Conversely, contemporary nomadic herder populations in Eurasia experienced moderate Paleolithic expansions, and no expansions were detected for nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa. “Human populations could have started to increase in Paleolithic times, and strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift toward agriculture during the Neolithic,” said Aiméa.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

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Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Tops Markets pushes produce consumption with reward program

Tops Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, has partnered with Independent Health on a program that will reward the health plan’s members for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables.

Independent Health is the first health plan in New York state to introduce a nutrition benefit as part of its health coverage that provides members with the opportunity to receive money-back rewards for buying fresh fruits and vegetables.

The nutrition benefit will be available exclusively to Independent Health members beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

The nutrition benefit will be available through all Tops Friendly Market Stores in western New York. For every $ 2 an Independent Health member spends on fresh fruits and vegetables at Tops, the member will receive a $ 1 credit for in-store grocery purchases.

Members can earn up to $ 1,000 on their food purchases each year on a family plan and up to $ 500 on a single plan, with the benefit rewards to be tracked through the Tops BonusPlus program.

“As a local company, we are always looking for ways to help our neighbors make good nutritional decisions for themselves and their families,” Frank Curci, president and chief executive officer of Tops Markets, said in a press release. “We are proud to partner with Independent Health to bring this convenient, affordable and valuable benefit option to the western New York community.”

The latest dietary guidelines call for a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on one’s caloric intake, age, gender and physical activity. However, the average American only gets a total of about three servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

In western New York, only 25 percent of adults are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, according to Western New York Health Care Performance Measures.

Tops Markets LLC, headquartered in Williamsville, NY, operates 159 full-service supermarkets under the Tops and Orchard Fresh banners. Of the total, 154 are company-owned stores and five are operated as franchise locations.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Two-Time E. coli Victim Pushes to Improve Seattle’s Restaurant Grading System

Sarah Schacht is part of a select group of people with the distinction of falling ill with E. coli in two separate outbreaks. First a victim in Seattle’s Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 at the age of 13, Schacht was hit with the bug again 20 years later after dining at a Seattle Ethiopian restaurant tied to an E. coli outbreak in February.

Schacht’s latest bout with E. coli left her with plenty of free time in bed to think about her predicament. In the aftermath of the outbreak, she attempted to access the recent inspection reports on the restaurant, Ambassel, but said she found King County Public Health’s restaurant inspection Website antiquated and difficult to use, and the grading system seemed unnecessarily confusing.

An open government advisor, Schacht wondered why it was difficult for her to access Ambassel’s poor inspection reports, especially compared to how easily she could find positive reviews for the place.

“It was the highest-rated restaurant on Yelp for Ethiopian Cuisine,” Schacht said. “But I had no idea this restaurant’s [health inspection] scores were plummeting. Had I known that, I never would have walked in there.”

Knowing that cities such as San Francisco and New York have markedly improved access to restaurant grading information in recent years, Schacht approached King County Public Health (KCPH) about doing something similar in Seattle. But after what Schacht described as months of attempted communication with little action, she finally felt compelled to create a petition to help raise awareness and encourage change.

Schacht’s petition asks KCPH to introduce a letter grade system that ranks restaurant inspections on a scale of A, B, C, D and F, with “A” indicating an excellent inspection and “F” requiring a temporary closure. The grades would be displayed somewhere outside the restaurant, and the county could provide data to Web-based services such as Yelp and Urbanspoon to easily share inspection data online.

Schacht cited a health report from New York City that found a 14-percent drop in Salmonella infections the year following the implementation of those practices — a “distinctly different” drop compared to recent trends. The grading system also inspires restaurants to better maintain their facilities, and it rewards the best actors, Schacht said.

Schacht added that the personnel at KCPH had treated her “amazingly” when she was sick. Her recommendations are not a criticism of KCPH, only the information technology related to its restaurant inspections.

“I decided I couldn’t just sit around while more people got sick,” she said.

Mark Rowe, Food Program & Water Recreation Program Manager at KCPH, met with Schacht more than a month ago to discuss her proposed ideas. Speaking to Food Safety News, Rowe said that he was interested in potentially updating the county’s Website system and finding ways to make restaurant inspection information more easily accessible, but it would take time to determine the best system available.

“I’m interested in looking at this, but we need to do the research first and look at the options out there,” Rowe said. “We want to make sure we come up with a good, evidence-based solution.”

Rowe said he would like to work with stakeholders, including restaurant owners and the public, to come up with the best way to update their inspection information system. One of KCPH’s primary concerns, he said, was ensuring that the data communicate a restaurant’s inspection history and not just one bad inspection that might have been conducted on a bad day.

Rowe noted that the county’s current restaurant inspection Website received 35,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2013.

Schacht reiterated that the current system does not provide an easy way for members of the public to patronize establishments with the best records of cleanliness, which could ultimately help reduce illness.

“I think we’re really missing an opportunity to avoid cases of food poisoning like mine,” Schacht said.

Food Safety News