Blog Archives

Subway Investigating Reports of Doctored Expiration Dates in China

Chinese media are reporting that workers at a Subway sub-sandwich fast-food chain outlet in Beijing were doctoring expiration labels and serving meat and vegetables beyond their expiration date. Subway officials stated on Monday that they were investigating the claims, according to Reuters.

Subway is just the latest in a recent string of fast-food chains with alleged problems related to expired food in China. In July, a Chinese TV report exposed the same practice apparently occurring at Chinese McDonald’s and KFC outlets.

That scandal traced back to a subsidiary of U.S. food supplier OSI Group. McDonald’s made a high-profile decision to cut ties with the company for its Chinese operations. Ultimately, six employees of the subsidiary were arrested for their alleged involvement in mixing outdated meat with fresher supplies.

The subsidiary, Shanghai Husi Food Co., also supplied food to Chinese franchises of other big-name chains, including Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Burger King and 7-Eleven.

Subway would not confirm or deny the reports on Monday, stating that the company needed more time to investigate the claims. Regulators in Beijing have also launched an investigation.

Food Safety News

USDA Reports on FSIS Enforcement Actions for Final Quarter of Year

A federal sentencing in Arkansas, convictions in Florida and a guilty plea in Puerto Rico topped fourth quarter enforcement actions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).   USDA’s final period of the year ended last Oct. 1 at the start of the current federal fiscal year. The three-month quarterly enforcement report includes FSIS administrative, civil and criminal actions.

Edward Martsolf, owner of the Petit Jean Farm in Morrilton, AR was sentenced for knowingly offering for sale, and selling and transporting meat as human food that was misbranded with counterfeit marks of federal inspection that he applied. He was sentenced to three years probation, fined $ 2,000 and required to pay $ 3,257 in restitution.

Martsolf earlier plead guilty to two counts of forging and applying counterfeit marks of federal inspection and selling and offering misbranded meat products for sale.  Also during the quarter, Jorge F. Ortega, owner of Jorge’s Farm near Citrus Park, FL was convicted of thee felony counts for selling adulterated and misbranded meat food products in commerce, selling un-inspected meat food products in commerce, and inhumane slaughter of swine.

He was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service entering an open plea for selling adulated and misbranded meat, selling uninspected meat, and violating humane slaughter standards.

The final criminal charges stemming from FSIS enforcement actions during the period came in Puerto Rico. Jose Suarez, owner of PR’s Joshua Enterprises, please guilty to one count of information for selling or offering for sale, 52,859 pounds of pork shoulders, that were at the time adulterated and unfit for human consumption.

His sentencing was scheduled for the new fiscal year.

Among the major civil enforcement actions by FSIS during the quarter include:

-Zhong Chen, Asian Chen, and Kimen Chen, owners of the Chicago’s Feida Bakery, were permanently enjoined from misbranding, selling or transporting meat and meat products.

-Richard Galligan, owner of Galligan Wholesale Meat Co. in Denver, signed a settlement agreement with the U.S. attorney for Colorado and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. For release from civil and administrative action, Galligan agreed to pay $ 80,000. At issue was possible breach of contract by mistake, unjust enrichment, and fraud.

–San Leandro, CA-based Galant Food Co. received an administrative complaint and consent decision, suspending federal meat inspection services for multiple regulatory violations and failures.

-John Stubblefield, owner of Hot Springs Packing Co. Inc. entered into a consent decision and order with FSIS allowing federal inspection services to resume when Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) controls are implemented.

-Paul and Kelly Rosberg, owners of Nebraska’s Finest Meats in Randolph, remain suspended from federal meat inspection services because of acts of intimidation and interference.

-Brasher Falls, NY-based Tri – Town Packing Corporation was subject to an FSIS complaint to withdraw federal meat inspectors for multiple violations.

Back in the meat and poultry plants were FSIS enforcement actions typically begin, meat inspectors issued 263 NRs ( non-compliance records). It raised the total number of NRs for the year to 1,087. Upon appeal, 302 were dismissed and 158 resulted in modified NRs. Appeals were upheld for 539 NRs for the year, which typically means what the decision of the FSIS meat inspector stands.

With those high retail beef prices continuing, the quarterly report shows beef production at just over 34 million for a second straight quarter. That’s down from 38.5 million and 35 million during the first two quarters of the year Poultry production, topping 2.3 billion carcasses for the final quarter, marked a high for the year.

Food Safety News

Strikes in Belgium shut down Delhaize stores: Reports

More than 100 stores owned by Delhaize in Belgium were unable to open Friday after employees at the company called a wildcat strike to protest the retailer’s proposed restructuring, reports said.

Warehouse workers walked off the job Thursday after union representatives received word of a proposal from Delhaize that would save jobs but eliminate pay for worker breaks and reduce leave, reports said.

The proposal was revised from a June restructuring plan that would have eliminated around 2,500 jobs and close 14 stores.

Delhaize officials have said the company is beset by a higher cost structure than its peers in Belgium, as detailed in this slide at right presented at the retailer’s most recent financial conference call in August.

Striking workers reportedly have blocked the entrance to two Belgium warehouses.

The below Tweet from a Belgian news site shows a photograph of striking workers wearing a sign that translates to “We are all on sale.”

Delhaize officials were not immediately available for comment Friday. One newspaper said a spokesman said the disruption “will have huge economic repercussions for the company.”

Supermarket News

Strikes in Belgium shut down Delhaize stores: Reports

More than 100 stores owned by Delhaize in Belgium were unable to open Friday after employees at the company called a wildcat strike to protest the retailer’s proposed restructuring, reports said.

Warehouse workers walked off the job Thursday after union representatives received word of a proposal from Delhaize that would save jobs but eliminate pay for worker breaks and reduce leave, reports said.

The proposal was revised from a June restructuring plan that would have eliminated around 2,500 jobs and close 14 stores.

Delhaize officials have said the company is beset by a higher cost structure than its peers in Belgium, as detailed in this slide at right presented at the retailer’s most recent financial conference call in August.

Striking workers reportedly have blocked the entrance to two Belgium warehouses.

The below Tweet from a Belgian news site shows a photograph of striking workers wearing a sign that translates to “We are all on sale.”

Delhaize officials were not immediately available for comment Friday. One newspaper said a spokesman said the disruption “will have huge economic repercussions for the company.”

Supermarket News

Strikes in Belgium shut down Delhaize stores: Reports

More than 100 stores owned by Delhaize in Belgium were unable to open Friday after employees at the company called a wildcat strike to protest the retailer’s proposed restructuring, reports said.

Warehouse workers walked off the job Thursday after union representatives received word of a proposal from Delhaize that would save jobs but eliminate pay for worker breaks and reduce leave, reports said.

The proposal was revised from a June restructuring plan that would have eliminated around 2,500 jobs and close 14 stores.

Delhaize officials have said the company is beset by a higher cost structure than its peers in Belgium, as detailed in this slide at right presented at the retailer’s most recent financial conference call in August.

Striking workers reportedly have blocked the entrance to two Belgium warehouses.

The below Tweet from a Belgian news site shows a photograph of striking workers wearing a sign that translates to “We are all on sale.”

Delhaize officials were not immediately available for comment Friday. One newspaper said a spokesman said the disruption “will have huge economic repercussions for the company.”

Supermarket News

Supervalu reports second security breach

For the second time in six weeks, Supervalu said it experienced a security breach in its data systems.

The Minneapolis-based wholesaler said Monday it has discovered that, since an earlier incident was reported in mid-August, an intruder installed malware into the portion of its computer network that processes payment-card transactions for some of its retail customers, including Shop ‘n Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy and corporate-owned and franchised Cub Foods stores.

The company said it believes the latest intrusion did not succeed in capturing data from any payment cards used at any stores other than possibly at four franchised Cub Foods stores in Hastings, Roseville, Shakopee and White Bear Lake, Minn., where implementation of enhanced protective technology had not yet been completed.

The malware may have been successful in capturing account numbers from those four stores, in addition to expiration dates, other numerical information and/or cardholders’ names, from transactions between Aug. 27 and Sept. 21, Supervalu said — though it has made no determination that any cardholder data was stolen, it noted.

The four Cub locations are offering customers who used payment cards during that period 12 months of complimentary consumer identification protection services through AllClear ID, Austin, Texas.

According to Supervalu, once it recognized the intrusion, it took immediate steps to secure the affected part of its network and said it believes it has eradicated the malware. The comapny also said it believes its enhanced protective technology significantly limited the malware’s ability to capture data from payment cards where the malware was installed.

The wholesaler said it has notified federal law enforcement authorities of the latest incident and is cooperating in their efforts to investigate the matter.

According to Sam Duncan, president and CEO, “We care greatly about our customers, and the safety of their personal information will continue to be a top priority for us. We’ve taken measures to install enhanced protective technology that we believe significantly limited the ability of this malware to capture payment-card data, and we will continue to make these investments going forward.”

The company also said it is continuing to take actions to implement further security enhancements and to improve its information security safeguards.

Supervalu said it believes this second incident was a separate intrusion from the one disclosed on Aug. 14, which involved stores operated by Albertsons LLC and New Albertsons, Inc.

Supermarket News

NRDC Releases FSIS Inspection Reports on Foster Farms

At first blush, it might seem like overkill to go back five years collecting noncompliance reports (NRs) from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for all Foster Farms facilities.

That’s exactly what the New York City-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did Thursday in dumping 300 pages of NRs on Foster Farms in the public square. And one could even argue that NDRC is not providing anything new since FSIS reports NR summaries by plant in the agency’s quarterly reports.

However, NRDC obtained FSIS inspection reports that provide far greater detail by filing requests under the Freedom of Information Act. And, with Foster Farms being under the government’s microscope since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blamed it for the much-publicized outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella, the story told by the data is surprising.

NR reports for 2014 alone account for 100 of those 300 pages. And the two Foster Farms plants in California which CDC linked to the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella outbreak have racked up 200 separate violations during the period.

NRDC, which works on farm and food policy out of its San Francisco offices, is one of a couple dozen activist groups that have used the Salmonella outbreak to pressure Foster Farms about its policy regarding antibiotics. It wants Foster Farms to limit antibiotic use to treating sick chickens, not for growth enhancement.

In releasing 300 pages of the inspection reports, NRDC called many of them “incredibly unsavory.” The group’s statement noted that, “the pattern of violations at Foster Farm plants doesn’t leave us feeling warm and fuzzy about the company’s commitment to protecting public health.”

The Foster Farms-linked drug-resistant Salmonella outbreak ran from March 2013 to July 2014. Heavily centered on California where Foster Farms does most of its production, the 29-state outbreak resulted in 634 confirmed illnesses, and nearly 40 percent of the cases required hospitalization. Foster Farms did not recall any products until the outbreak was nearly over.

Reading noncompliance reports is best not done around meal times. NRDC states that the inspection reports contain descriptions of “mold growth, cockroaches, an instance of pooling caused by a skin-clogged floor drain, fecal matter and ‘Unidentified Foreign Material’ (which has it own acronym, UFM) on chicken carcasses, failure to implement required tests and sampling, metal pieces found in carcasses, and many more.”

“We would have expected that improved sanitation would be a top priority at Foster Farms at the height of the Salmonella outbreak, yet its slaughter and processing plant in Livingston, CA, was cited 154 times in the weeks and months after October 7, 2013, when USDA issued a public health alert about Foster Farms chicken,” reads the NRDC’s statement.

The environmental group said a violation was occurring once every other day between October 2013 and March 2014. The Foster Farms plant that was temporarily closed in January 2014 had NRs for cockroach infestations and “egregious insanitary conditions.”

NRs are the first step USDA/FSIS meat inspectors take to obtain corrective action. Many corrections are obtained on the spot, while others are settled or appealed. Foster Farms opted not to accept an invitation by Food Safety News to comment on the inspection reports released by NRDC.

On its website, Foster Farms says that antibiotics are not used for routine growth promotion. CEO Ron Foster has defended the use of antibiotics for keeping flocks healthy. The company has also claimed to have achieved dramatic reduction in Salmonella and Campylobacter in its fresh poultry, and those gains have been confirmed by outside experts.

Food Safety News

Kroger reports 9.4% earnings increase in Q2

Kroger Co. posted another quarter of solid earnings on Thursday.

The retailer reported net earnings of $ 347 million for the second fiscal quarter that ended Aug. 16 — an increase of 9.4% from the same period a year ago. Total sales for the quarter were $ 25.3 billion.

Identical store sales for the quarter, excluding fuel, were up 4.8%. Kroger raised its expectations for this identical store sales growth for the fiscal year to a range of 3.5% and 4.25%. It previously said it expected 3% to 4% comp growth for the year.

“While many of its competitors cut back full-year guidance on the back of poor Q1 results, Kroger actually raised its outlook for the year,” said Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director at Planet Retail, in a media statement.

“To say that we expect more of the same from the leading U.S. grocer in Q2 doesn’t in itself seem newsworthy, but given the headwinds facing all grocery retailers, a 43rd consecutive gain in comparable store sales is in fact quite remarkable.”

Kroger’s private label brands were strong performers through the quarter, with 26.3% of total units sold and 25.2% of dollar sales coming from store brands, not counting fuel and pharamacy

The retailer’s Simple Truth natural and organic brand is expected to bring in $ 1 billion in sales by the year’s end.

Company officials were optimistic about future integration with Vitacost, the online retailer fully acquired by Kroger last month.


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“Vitacost’s people and extensive e-commerce platform coupled with Kroger’s customer insights and loyal customer base will really be a powerful combination that we can leverage to create new levels of personalization and convenience for our customers,” said Michael L. Ellis, Kroger president and COO.

“We intend to build on Vitacost’s robust technology platform and integrate it with our existing digital footprint to do just that.”

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said that the Harris Teeter merger continues to progress well.

Harris Teeter will roll out new stores as a quicker pace than in the past, according to Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman.

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Supermarket News

Consumer Reports: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat Tuna

Can eating the wrong type of fish put you at higher risk for mercury exposure? That’s the question posed in the latest special food safety report published Wednesday from Consumer Reports, the publishing arm of the nonprofit Consumers Union.

The noncontroversial answer is yes, certain fish contain higher levels of mercury than others — and different species of tuna can vary significantly in mercury levels. But Consumer Reports has taken the conversation a step further, concluding that pregnant women in particular should completely avoid tuna.

That advice directly contradicts that of the Food and Drug Administration, some nutritionists, and, of course, the seafood industry. In June, FDA released guidance recommending that women of childbearing age and young children eat fish as a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Tuna has long been a top recommendation due to its low price and convenience.

Consumer Reports says that canned tuna, the most commonly consumed fish in the U.S., has levels of mercury too dangerous for pregnant women and their developing fetuses. Instead, they recommend 20 seafood alternatives with lower levels of mercury, including salmon and tilapia.

For a comparison, a 4-ounce serving of salmon contains about 2 micrograms of mercury. The same amount of canned albacore tuna contains almost 60 micrograms. Swordfish? 150.

What about chunk light tuna? While most cans of chunk light contain about one-third to half the amount mercury in albacore, about 20 percent of cans FDA tested contain just as much, said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union.

The problem, Halloran told Food Safety News, is that there are no restrictions on what species of tuna may be put in a chunk light can, and so sometimes higher-mercury varieties are added in.

As a result, she said, the maximum levels of mercury seen in both chunk light and albacore tuna are up in the range of fish on the FDA’s do-not-eat list.

“If one of those high-mercury cans came at the wrong point in the fetal development, it’s a risk,” Halloran said. “Just like pregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol, during pregnancy it’s prudent to avoid tuna, especially when there are low-mercury seafood alternatives.”

Halloran’s favorite alternatives are canned Alaskan salmon and canned sardines, which she jokingly called “highly underrated.”

But others think the Consumer Reports message does more harm than good.

“When I see reports like this, I just worry that people will be dissuaded from eating a really healthy food,” Colorado State University Nutrition Professor Dr. Mary Harris told Food Safety News.

Harris said that scientific literature supports FDA’s recommendation for pregnant women to eat 8-12 ounces of fish per week, or 6 ounces of albacore tuna. The health benefits of eating one to two meals of fish each week far outweigh the mercury risks, she said.

“We should look at that 8-12 ounce recommendation as a target, not a limit,” she said.

Harris added that she didn’t see salmon or sardines becoming widely adopted as a lower-mercury alternative to tuna because the affordability and ease of preparation with tuna just can’t be beat.

In a statement released Wednesday, FDA criticized the report for overestimating the negative effects of mercury in fish and understating the health benefits of eating fish.

The National Fisheries Institute, an industry association, responded similarly.

“Consumer Reports is dangerously out of touch with science on this matter,” the association said in a statment. “This is not about Consumer Reports and ‘industry’ disagreeing. It is about Consumer Reports promoting its own reckless, hyperbolic, quasi-science and in the process damaging its own credibility.”

Halloran at Consumers Union responded that the net-benefit argument made little sense when numerous low-mercury alternatives to tuna exist.

“You can get all the same health benefits from lower-mercury fish without taking on the mercury risks with tuna,” she said. “We all agree that women and children should eat low-mercury fish.”

FDA includes a list of fish species with their average levels of mercury on its information page entitled, “Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know.”

Both FDA and Consumer Reports agree that pregnant women and children should never eat the following four fish that contain the highest mercury levels:

  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • King mackerel
  • Gulf tilefish

Consumer Reports adds two more fish to their do-not-eat recommendation:

  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy

Consumer Reports additionally advises any adults who eat more than 24 ounces of fish each week to avoid high-mercury choices.

Food Safety News

Industry reports expect WFM to grow in long term

Despite Whole Foods Market‘s recent stock price drop, media reports are not counting the retailer out.

“Whole Foods is an important part of my family’s retirement plan, accounting for more than 5% of our retirement investments. And yet I won’t be sweating Whole Foods’ margins too much in the company’s earnings release this week,” wrote Brian Stoffel on The Motley Fool website.

Whole Foods will be reporting its third quarter earnings on Wednesday, and Stoffell noted that he is less concerned about low comparable store sales than he is about volume growth. He and other observers are saying to give the natural foods giant more time to figure out how to adjust pricing to be competitive.

“Whole Foods’ response — price cutting — is hurting sales growth now, but the key thing to remember is that getting price cuts right always takes time. It can take a while for consumers to respond and buy more. Plus it’s a rolling experiment. Some price cuts don’t bring a volume lift, so they have to be redeployed,” wrote Market Watch columnist Michael Brush in a recent editorial.

Even if the retailer doesn’t have strong results for its third quarter earnings, industry observers expect Whole Foods to bounce back — eventually. 

A Seeking Alpha piece by Louise Coleman points to the retailer’s physical expansion as a positive sign for the company:

The market is potentially overestimating competitors’ power to take down this well-established company. Additionally, there could be failure to recognize Whole Foods’ current expansion game plan, with an increase of nearly 200 stores totaling 575 by fiscal 2018, utilizing nearly no debt.

Tomorrow SN will report the third quarter earnings results, but the retailer’s turn around will likely be seen in the longer term.  

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Supermarket News

Industry reports expect WFM to grow in long term

Despite Whole Foods Market‘s recent stock price drop, media reports are not counting the retailer out.

“Whole Foods is an important part of my family’s retirement plan, accounting for more than 5% of our retirement investments. And yet I won’t be sweating Whole Foods’ margins too much in the company’s earnings release this week,” wrote Brian Stoffel on The Motley Fool website.

Whole Foods will be reporting its third quarter earnings on Wednesday, and Stoffell noted that he is less concerned about low comparable store sales than he is about volume growth. He and other observers are saying to give the natural foods giant more time to figure out how to adjust pricing to be competitive.

“Whole Foods’ response — price cutting — is hurting sales growth now, but the key thing to remember is that getting price cuts right always takes time. It can take a while for consumers to respond and buy more. Plus it’s a rolling experiment. Some price cuts don’t bring a volume lift, so they have to be redeployed,” wrote Market Watch columnist Michael Brush in a recent editorial.

Even if the retailer doesn’t have strong results for its third quarter earnings, industry observers expect Whole Foods to bounce back — eventually. 

A Seeking Alpha piece by Louise Coleman points to the retailer’s physical expansion as a positive sign for the company:

The market is potentially overestimating competitors’ power to take down this well-established company. Additionally, there could be failure to recognize Whole Foods’ current expansion game plan, with an increase of nearly 200 stores totaling 575 by fiscal 2018, utilizing nearly no debt.

Tomorrow SN will report the third quarter earnings results, but the retailer’s turn around will likely be seen in the longer term.  

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews

Supermarket News

Texas Reports Big Spike in Cyclosporiasis Cases

Public health officials in Tarrant County, Texas, which includes the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington areas, are investigating a sudden surge in Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection caused by a parasite that can be ingested via contaminated food or water.

The statewide number of cases hit 61 in the past month, with eight of them being in Tarrant County. This compares with only eight statewide cases of Cyclosporiasis in Texas from January through May of this year.

Officials are advising healthcare providers to watch for and test patients with symptoms such as diarrhea that has lasted more than a few days or diarrhea plus fatigue. Symptoms usually start two days to two weeks after the parasite is ingested, are often accompanied by intestinal pain, and can mimic the stomach flu.

Previous Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to imported fresh produce such as lettuce, salad mix, snow peas, raspberries, cilantro and basil.

“To reduce your risk, we recommend thoroughly washing produce before consumption. Produce that is cooked is not a concern. It’s the raw produce like cilantro and salads that can be a problem,” said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health.

Food Safety News

Texas Reports Big Spike in Cyclosporiasis Cases

Public health officials in Tarrant County, Texas, which includes the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington areas, are investigating a sudden surge in Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection caused by a parasite that can be ingested via contaminated food or water.

The statewide number of cases hit 61 in the past month, with eight of them being in Tarrant County. This compares with only eight statewide cases of Cyclosporiasis in Texas from January through May of this year.

Officials are advising healthcare providers to watch for and test patients with symptoms such as diarrhea that has lasted more than a few days or diarrhea plus fatigue. Symptoms usually start two days to two weeks after the parasite is ingested, are often accompanied by intestinal pain, and can mimic the stomach flu.

Previous Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to imported fresh produce such as lettuce, salad mix, snow peas, raspberries, cilantro and basil.

“To reduce your risk, we recommend thoroughly washing produce before consumption. Produce that is cooked is not a concern. It’s the raw produce like cilantro and salads that can be a problem,” said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health.

Food Safety News

Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $17.5 million

Challenges in Panama Disease and drug trafficking
Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $ 17.5 million

Fresh Del Monte Produce reported on Tuesday a growth in profit for the first quarter, as revenues increased across all segments. Shares of the fruit and vegetable supplier are currently trading up 11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, following the announcement.

Fresh Del Monte’s first-quarter profit rose to $ 58.6 million or $ 1.04 per share from last year’s $ 41.1 million or $ 0.71 per share.

Comparable net income, which excludes certain charges, was $ 56.5 million or $ 1.00 per share.

Sales for the first quarter improved to $ 982.3 million from $ 918.8 million a year ago, on a broad growth across all the segments.

Sales of Banana, the core segment, increased 8 percent to $ 436.9 million, as pricing and volumes increased. Other fresh produce sales rose 5 percent to 454.3 million, driven by higher sales in pineapple and non-tropical product lines.

“Our results in the first quarter of 2014 demonstrate progress toward our strategic initiatives. We benefited from efforts to hold the line on costs, achieved higher profitability in our offshore melon business and continued growth in our Middle East operations,” said CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh.

Bananas and Tropical Race 4
FreshFruit Portal reported that pricing for the category has been of concern to the company, in large part due to competing pressure between input costs and retailers. Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted this point when asked about the potential impact of Panama Disease, specifically the spread of Tropical Race 4 (TR4).

He said the dangers of the disease are real and have proven themselves through the devastation of farms in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

As input and disease control costs rise, Abu-Ghazaleh described multinational banana companies as “sitting ducks” in a situation in which retailers leverage pricing powers.

The company CEO lamented what he described as poor pricing in North America and even poorer, uncontrolled pricing in Europe.

For now, he said there are no promising alternatives to replace Cavendish, the top commercial banana and a variety that has shown susceptibility to TR4.

Ecuadorian drug trafficking

Abu-Ghazaleh went on to describe what he called disturbing business practices out of the Ecuadorian banana industry. He noted concerning growth in the illicit drug trade, hidden in unchecked banana shipments.

Pineapple sourcing and Banacol
The company acknowledged a possible sourcing agreement with Banacol but said the producer will need about a year of training before it can meet Del Monte’s quality standards.

Source: FresFruitPortal.com and RTT News

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $17.5 million

Challenges in Panama Disease and drug trafficking
Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $ 17.5 million

Fresh Del Monte Produce reported on Tuesday a growth in profit for the first quarter, as revenues increased across all segments. Shares of the fruit and vegetable supplier are currently trading up 11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, following the announcement.

Fresh Del Monte’s first-quarter profit rose to $ 58.6 million or $ 1.04 per share from last year’s $ 41.1 million or $ 0.71 per share.

Comparable net income, which excludes certain charges, was $ 56.5 million or $ 1.00 per share.

Sales for the first quarter improved to $ 982.3 million from $ 918.8 million a year ago, on a broad growth across all the segments.

Sales of Banana, the core segment, increased 8 percent to $ 436.9 million, as pricing and volumes increased. Other fresh produce sales rose 5 percent to 454.3 million, driven by higher sales in pineapple and non-tropical product lines.

“Our results in the first quarter of 2014 demonstrate progress toward our strategic initiatives. We benefited from efforts to hold the line on costs, achieved higher profitability in our offshore melon business and continued growth in our Middle East operations,” said CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh.

Bananas and Tropical Race 4
FreshFruit Portal reported that pricing for the category has been of concern to the company, in large part due to competing pressure between input costs and retailers. Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted this point when asked about the potential impact of Panama Disease, specifically the spread of Tropical Race 4 (TR4).

He said the dangers of the disease are real and have proven themselves through the devastation of farms in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

As input and disease control costs rise, Abu-Ghazaleh described multinational banana companies as “sitting ducks” in a situation in which retailers leverage pricing powers.

The company CEO lamented what he described as poor pricing in North America and even poorer, uncontrolled pricing in Europe.

For now, he said there are no promising alternatives to replace Cavendish, the top commercial banana and a variety that has shown susceptibility to TR4.

Ecuadorian drug trafficking

Abu-Ghazaleh went on to describe what he called disturbing business practices out of the Ecuadorian banana industry. He noted concerning growth in the illicit drug trade, hidden in unchecked banana shipments.

Pineapple sourcing and Banacol
The company acknowledged a possible sourcing agreement with Banacol but said the producer will need about a year of training before it can meet Del Monte’s quality standards.

Source: FresFruitPortal.com and RTT News

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $17.5 million

Challenges in Panama Disease and drug trafficking
Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $ 17.5 million

Fresh Del Monte Produce reported on Tuesday a growth in profit for the first quarter, as revenues increased across all segments. Shares of the fruit and vegetable supplier are currently trading up 11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, following the announcement.

Fresh Del Monte’s first-quarter profit rose to $ 58.6 million or $ 1.04 per share from last year’s $ 41.1 million or $ 0.71 per share.

Comparable net income, which excludes certain charges, was $ 56.5 million or $ 1.00 per share.

Sales for the first quarter improved to $ 982.3 million from $ 918.8 million a year ago, on a broad growth across all the segments.

Sales of Banana, the core segment, increased 8 percent to $ 436.9 million, as pricing and volumes increased. Other fresh produce sales rose 5 percent to 454.3 million, driven by higher sales in pineapple and non-tropical product lines.

“Our results in the first quarter of 2014 demonstrate progress toward our strategic initiatives. We benefited from efforts to hold the line on costs, achieved higher profitability in our offshore melon business and continued growth in our Middle East operations,” said CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh.

Bananas and Tropical Race 4
FreshFruit Portal reported that pricing for the category has been of concern to the company, in large part due to competing pressure between input costs and retailers. Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted this point when asked about the potential impact of Panama Disease, specifically the spread of Tropical Race 4 (TR4).

He said the dangers of the disease are real and have proven themselves through the devastation of farms in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

As input and disease control costs rise, Abu-Ghazaleh described multinational banana companies as “sitting ducks” in a situation in which retailers leverage pricing powers.

The company CEO lamented what he described as poor pricing in North America and even poorer, uncontrolled pricing in Europe.

For now, he said there are no promising alternatives to replace Cavendish, the top commercial banana and a variety that has shown susceptibility to TR4.

Ecuadorian drug trafficking

Abu-Ghazaleh went on to describe what he called disturbing business practices out of the Ecuadorian banana industry. He noted concerning growth in the illicit drug trade, hidden in unchecked banana shipments.

Pineapple sourcing and Banacol
The company acknowledged a possible sourcing agreement with Banacol but said the producer will need about a year of training before it can meet Del Monte’s quality standards.

Source: FresFruitPortal.com and RTT News

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $17.5 million

Challenges in Panama Disease and drug trafficking
Fresh Del Monte reports profit rise of $ 17.5 million

Fresh Del Monte Produce reported on Tuesday a growth in profit for the first quarter, as revenues increased across all segments. Shares of the fruit and vegetable supplier are currently trading up 11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, following the announcement.

Fresh Del Monte’s first-quarter profit rose to $ 58.6 million or $ 1.04 per share from last year’s $ 41.1 million or $ 0.71 per share.

Comparable net income, which excludes certain charges, was $ 56.5 million or $ 1.00 per share.

Sales for the first quarter improved to $ 982.3 million from $ 918.8 million a year ago, on a broad growth across all the segments.

Sales of Banana, the core segment, increased 8 percent to $ 436.9 million, as pricing and volumes increased. Other fresh produce sales rose 5 percent to 454.3 million, driven by higher sales in pineapple and non-tropical product lines.

“Our results in the first quarter of 2014 demonstrate progress toward our strategic initiatives. We benefited from efforts to hold the line on costs, achieved higher profitability in our offshore melon business and continued growth in our Middle East operations,” said CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh.

Bananas and Tropical Race 4
FreshFruit Portal reported that pricing for the category has been of concern to the company, in large part due to competing pressure between input costs and retailers. Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted this point when asked about the potential impact of Panama Disease, specifically the spread of Tropical Race 4 (TR4).

He said the dangers of the disease are real and have proven themselves through the devastation of farms in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

As input and disease control costs rise, Abu-Ghazaleh described multinational banana companies as “sitting ducks” in a situation in which retailers leverage pricing powers.

The company CEO lamented what he described as poor pricing in North America and even poorer, uncontrolled pricing in Europe.

For now, he said there are no promising alternatives to replace Cavendish, the top commercial banana and a variety that has shown susceptibility to TR4.

Ecuadorian drug trafficking

Abu-Ghazaleh went on to describe what he called disturbing business practices out of the Ecuadorian banana industry. He noted concerning growth in the illicit drug trade, hidden in unchecked banana shipments.

Pineapple sourcing and Banacol
The company acknowledged a possible sourcing agreement with Banacol but said the producer will need about a year of training before it can meet Del Monte’s quality standards.

Source: FresFruitPortal.com and RTT News

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Reports show good snowpack in Colorado

Officials are guardedly optimistic that the 2014 runoff season in Colorado’s high country will be a good one. A potential for flooding does exist, however, if meltdown comes too quickly as a result of sustained hot temperatures during the prime runoff months of May and June.

Craig Cotten, division engineer for Div. 3 of the State Engineer’s office in Alamosa, CO, said conditions in the Rio Grande River Basin and Colorado’s San Luis Valley have improved somewhat this year. As of April 1, snowpack was 80 percent of normal. “We’re the lowest basin in the state,” he told The Produce News. “But that’s actually higher than the last two years.”

This is the sixth consecutive year for below-average stream flows in southern Colorado. “Runoff will be closer to normal,” he added. Agricultural producers have been complying with ever-tightening water regulations governing use. According to Cotten, the level of the region’s aquifer continues to drop owing to drought conditions.

Cotten said water quality will likely be affected as a result of ash content from last year’s devastating West Fork Fire. He said the potential for flooding also exists due to the fire.

Turning to northern Colorado, Dave Nettles, division engineer for Div. 1 of the State Engineer’s office in Greeley, CO, said, “We’re running well ahead of average snowpack [in the South Platte River Basin].” As of the beginning of April, snowpack was 133 percent of normal. “We have more snow water equivalent than our average peak,” he told The Produce News.

The good news about anticipated runoff could be dampened if the snowpack melts too quickly. Meltoff typically begins in May and peaks in June. Last September, northern Colorado experienced extreme flooding, and the impact of the devastation continues to be felt today. “It depends on temperatures and how the flow moves,” Nettles stated about the coming runoff. “A quick flush, if it happens, could contribute to potential for flooding. But many areas will be fine.”

Another complicating factor, which could contribute to the potential for flooding in the South Platte River Basin, stems from the fact that last year’s flooding was so severe that rivers jumped their banks, creating new flow channels. Debris, Nettles added, may also disrupt flow and create potential for flooding.

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