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U.S. Apple Association will support customers’ right to choose or not choose GMO

U.S. Apple Association will support customers’ right to choose or not choose GMO

The introduction of non-browning Arctic® Apples to consumers is at least a few years away, but if approved for commercial production by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Apple Association will then support the public’s right to decide whether or not to purchase a genetically modified apple. “If approved, the non-browning apple will be just one more possible option available to consumers,” explains Wendy Brannen, director of consumer health and public relations for the U.S. Apple Association. “We want to convey the vast choices of safe, healthy apples and apple products available to consumers, including dozens of non-GMO apples that will remain on the market.”

The U.S. Apple Association’s stance that consumers decide about Arctic is reliant on the non-browning apple’s safety. The apple passed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s safety standards, and since there were no concerns, the industry says the choice will be left to consumers. “FDA declared that Arctic apples are safe and that they would offer the same nutrition benefits as non-GMO apples,” explains Brannen, “We have assurance from the developer that these apples would be clearly sold and marketed under the Arctic® label, so their place in the market will simply be a matter of consumer choice.”

The non-browning apple is the first genetically modified apple which may become available to consumers.  Arctic Apples are non-transgenic, as no crossbreeding between species occurs. In order to achieve a non-browning apple, genes are targeted which cause the effect. The U.S. Apple Association says it’s important the industry remain transparent to help provide the public with unbiased information about all apple choices. “We want to help consumers understand and educate themselves on their product choices. Some people may appreciate an apple that doesn’t brown, whereas others may be uncomfortable with a genetically modified product.  Those purchasing decisions are up to them, but we are happy to help direct them toward factual educational resources out there to help them best decide what’s right for them.” 

The Arctic Apple is not yet available to the public as it has not passed deregulation, however with current information it appears the apple will be approved. All other apple purchases will continue to be non-GMO, and consumers will have a clear choice whether to purchase Arctic Apples. “The consumer has the opportunity to purchase applesauce with or without cinnamon. They can buy a sweet or a tart apple based on their preference,” reflects Brannen, “The non-browning apple simply offers another choice for them. Some people will understand that browning is a natural process, but others may not like the browning and may want to try them.”  

For more information:
Wendy Brannen
U.S. Apple Association
Tel: 703-442-8850
[email protected]
www.usapple.org

Publication date: 11/21/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Letter From the Editor: Right to Know Something Important

This is the moment of the year we all wait for, when the editorial writers come down from the hills after the election battles to shoot some of the wounded.

The one I’ll take is easy, the Black Knight of the national GMO labeling campaign. Those old enough will remember the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With some skill as a swordsman, the Black Knight is said to have suffered from unchecked overconfidence and staunch refusal to give up.  In the movie version, the Black Knight ends up getting both his arms and legs cut off, but continues to guard his bridge on his stumps, refusing to quit. That’s a pretty good depiction of where the national GMO campaign is at the moment. It’s on its stumps.

After losing in California in 2012, and Washington State in 2013, the national GMO labeling campaign moved on to Oregon and Colorado in this past Tuesday’s election. (It had failed to quality for 2014 ballot placement in Arizona.)

On Tuesday, it lost narrowly in Oregon after putting up an $ 8 million campaign that was opposed by the biotechnology and grocery industries with spending of more than $ 20 million. While outspent, the pro-GMO camp in this small market state enjoyed its most competitive campaign ever, but it still came up short.

It had written off Colorado to put its national resources into Oregon, which was probably a good decision in that GMO labeling was crushed in the Centennial State in a near $ 17 million campaign that one television commercial after another featuring local farm leaders speaking directly into the camera. The “yes” campaign in Colorado spent less than $ 1 million

Voter turnout in Oregon hit 68 percent, high for an off-year election. The boost may have come from recreational marijuana also being on the ballot, and many of those voters may have helped the GMO initiative too.  Oregon’s Measure 92 was typical — it would have required the words “Genetically Engineered” on raw food and “Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” on food packaging.

It would raise prices without much, if anything, in the way of consumer benefits. There are obviously some in the organic, soap and supplements business who must think they’d benefit, but that’s more of a follow-on story if it ever happens.  Personally, I’ve found it hard to believe that for the price-conscious among us, the words “genetically engineered” would cause me to pay organic prices for anything.

That is sort of an admission that I agree with those who say the best thing the food and biotech agriculture sectors could do would be to just embrace GMO labeling and move on. They say science and food safety is on the industry’s side and they’d be better off taking the money being spent on campaigns (About $ 120 million since 2012), and pour it into ongoing consumer education.

But like the Black Knight, bravado is still coming out of the national GMO labeling movement’s mouth, although there is talk of taking a year off before filing for another state initiative campaign. Maybe we could all use that time to change the rhetoric and the narrative on this issue and give both sides a way out.

Instead of the “right to know” blather we’ve been haring since before California in 2012, how about we all agree on a “right to know something important” labeling plan.  Here’s the idea: We’d come up with a uniform approach with a panel on all food packages listing all your various food types; GMO, organic, conventional, non-GMO, etc.

Behind each one there would first be an on or off  or red light, green light indicator, like with the  light “on” if the product is organic. Then, and here’s where it gets good, there would be more  indicators on the panel after the food type indicators: recalls, outbreaks, illnesses, and deaths.  We’d rely on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update these numbers every year. We’d have to work out the details, but think of the true consumer benefit that would result from this approach versus the failed initiatives of the past.

This new approach would create a powerful new incentive for food safety. Food companies would do everything possible to make sure their package did not have to report any illnesses or — god forbid — deaths on their product labels for the next year.  Consumers, who are often misinformed about food safety, would be educated at the check-out counter and could make more informed decisions.

The “right to know something important” labeling campaign is going to require bringing both the GMO and the organic camps together. That assumes either of them would want something important on the label, but that is something I seriously doubt.  It sure would be a way of finding out if anybody in the grocery business really believes in this right to know stuff, would it not?

Food Safety News

Petition: Wisconsin Supreme Court Should Rule on Raw-Milk ‘Right’

Anyone may purchase a cow and drink its raw milk, but do the people of Wisconsin have a “right to purchase and drink raw milk”?

That’s what the losers in a recent Wisconsin Appeals Court case want to know, and they’ve petitioned the state Supreme Court to see if they can get their question answered.

It’s the latest scheme by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to carve out some “rights” around food and thereby advance the food freedom movement. In their world, raw milk is one of pillars of that campaign.

Wisconsin prohibits the retail sale of raw milk because, until it’s pasteurized, milk may contain potentially harmful bacteria such as Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7. But about 1 percent of all consumers think pasteurization also kills beneficial bacteria found in raw milk, and they believe there are health benefits derived from drinking it.

The case the Wisconsin Supreme Court is being asked to review was a two-for-one loss for raw-milk advocates because it was the result of two consolidated cases.

The decision being appealed to the high court resulted from the consolidation of two cases involving Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund plaintiffs. The combination of issues, however, did not result in the court offering any opinion on whether there is a right to purchase and drink unpasteurized milk in Wisconsin.

For the part of the case known for the “Zinniker plaintiffs,” the appeals court’s Aug. 7 decision upheld state agriculture’s revocation of the license of a Walworth County raw-milk dairy that was involved in a 2009 outbreak. The dairy then attempted to get around the license requirement with a limited liability corporation called “Nourished by Nature.”

State regulators  called that arrangement a “sham,” and Farm-to-Consumer filed the lawsuit. The 4th District Appeals Court decision agreed with the trial court, finding that the distribution of raw milk without a state producer’s license is a crime.

“Even assuming that the members of Nourished by Nature have a right to consume unpasteurized milk, the Zinnikers do not have a legal right to operate a dairy farm as milk producers without a license,” the appeals court ruling stated.

In the part of the decision involving the “GrassWay plaintiffs,” both the facts and the outcome were similar. An organic farm store wanted to sell raw milk to members of an association who paid a fee to the store, but, under a producer’s license, the department said the store was not allowed to sell or distribute the product.

Food Safety News

Partnership and the right marketing plan way to global expansion

Tim Riley – Giumarra and Kevin Fiori – Sunkist
Partnership and the right marketing plan way to global expansion

Tim Riley, president of the North American company Giumarra, and Kevin Fiori, VP of Sales and Marketing of Sunkist USA, took part in a session entitled Global opportunities abroad, in which they outlined their companies’ strategies for international growth and how they tackled some of the obstacles along the way.

For the president of Giumarra, the key to its company’s success was the development of global partnerships since the 1990’s. “From our base in North America we moved to South Africa and South America, mainly Chile and Argentina, as well as Europe and Asia. The reason for this is that it enabled us to create a network of growers allowing for year-round supply of consistent quality produce.”

“In 2005, for example, it came to point where we needed 12 month supply of blueberries, so we looked for like-minded companies in countries like Chile, Argentina and Mexico and we created our separate organisation to partner and collaborate with them. We had such a success with our operation, that in 2007 we decided to do the same with avocados,” explains Tim.

Nowadays, Giumarra has grown into an international network of fresh produce growers, distributors and marketers, allowing its customers to source virtually any type of fresh produce item from or to almost anywhere in the world.

For his part, Kevin Fiori, of Sunkist, described how about ten years ago his company was suffering of lack of international demand for lemons in existing key markets, such as North America and Japan, and of the near-absence of demand in countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong or China. “We looked at pricing and this really had no impact, so we needed to conduct research to make sure we took the appropriate actions to change what was going on,” said Kevin.

He explains that “elasticity was the key factor. Almost nobody was purchasing lemons for anything other than to use them as garnish, for seafood, for lemonade or cocktails, so they were at a secondary demand level. We therefore wanted to target the primary drivers of demand.”

“We redesigned our marketing plans taking into consideration that price was not the key factor and we spent a lot of time introducing secondary displays in primary demand departments (seafood, alcohol, etc.) and we registered a 30% increase in our raw demand; a huge impact.”

According to Kevin, “it is also essential to take into account that what you do in the United States or South Africa doesn’t necessarily translate into other cultures, but we felt a huge impact on overall demand by making sure that the money was spent in the right promotions. This case is about lemons, but it really applies to all products. It all comes down to conducting the right marketing.”

Publication date: 8/22/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Is Albertsons making the right move by eliminating loyalty cards?

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Supermarket News

Living right: Wakefern wins SN Enterprise Award

Wakefern/ShopRite has embraced health without sacrificing its volume

To be clear, Village Super Market’s ShopRite stores do not ring up around $ 1 million in sales each week by providing empty rooms for free classes. Historically, this is a company in the business of moving large volumes of groceries quickly and efficiently, and Village is quite good at that: According to financial filings, its stores achieve more than $ 1,100 in sales per square foot of store space, something around three times estimated industry averages. Yet one feature of …

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Supermarket News

Merge right: 10 key markets

When Safeway unveiled its agreement in March to be acquired by Cerberus Capital Management — the parent of the Albertsons chain and other banners — the companies said there were no planned store closures as a result of the deal.

Almost certainly, however, there will be divestitures forced upon the companies by federal and perhaps local antitrust authorities.

The chains’ overlap is significant in some markets, especially Southern California, the Pacific  edges, like loyalty cards. Albertsons had a card, then abandoned it in favor of a policy of ‘no games/no gimmicks,’ whereas Vons is all about Just 4 U, so the competing operators will be able to play off any takeaways that occur.

“Ultimately, Ralphs is likely to play it by ear — to try to figure out what it’s got to work with before it makes any moves.”


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Another observer said he agrees that Ralphs is likely to take a wait-and-see attitude. “Initially I think Ralphs will treat any changes at the Albertsons group like it’s a new market entry or a grand opening. So it could up the level of advertising temporarily and take other steps to drive increased traffic, and then see what changes the new owners make before deciding how to react for the long term.

“I doubt it will throw a ton of money into something immediately. It will do targeted marketing and try to capitalize on any changes that affect consumers.

“But Ralphs, as part of Kroger, is very diligent, and there’s a lot of rigor in what it does, and while it could get aggressive, it would be smartly aggressive — it would look to capitalize on changes that disrupt the shoppers of either Albertsons or Vons.

“Anything that changes has the possibility of upsetting existing customers, and Ralphs will certainly try to take advantage of those changes.”

Using the latest data from the 2014 Grocery Distribution Analysis and Guide from Metro Market Studies, Tucson, Ariz., SN examines on the following pages the market shares and store counts of Safeway, Albertsons and other competitors in 10 of the markets where the two companies both operate stores.

Supermarket News

“Big potential, but you will need the right people and the best technology”

Peninsula Farms, the largest greenhouse grower in the Kingdom of Bahrain:
“Big potential, but you will need the right people and the best technology”

With a high end operation of 4 hectares, Peninsula Farms is the largest greenhouse grower in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The greenhouse complex is a project by a group of Bahrain businessmen who contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in Bahrain as well as aiding the country to achieve its goal to be self sustainable in terms of local fresh produce. Sheik Rashid is the company’s General Manager and recently, Grahame Dunling was hired as the full time Horticultural Development Manager after he helped the grower with a three year expansion plan for the company.  Speaking to Dunling we learn that growing in the middle of the desert is a big challenge that relies on high tech equipment as well as extensive growing knowledge.

The greenhouse operation of Peninsula Farms is spread out over 40,000 m2. Divided amongst 8 greenhouses of 5,040 m2 each, they have 20,000 m2  with Cherry, Beafsteak and Plum tomatoes, 5,000 mt with Bell Peppers and another 5,000 m2 with chilly peppers. In the remaining 10,000 m2 Peninsula grows Basil, Baby Spinach, Rocket, Garden Cress and of course Mint, as well as six varieties of Lettuce, which are Lollo Rosso, Lollo Biondo, Boston, Red Oakleaf,Green Oakleaf, Frisse and Trio lettuce.

In the Kingdom of Bahrain growing in a greenhouse on such a large scale is not so common. According to Dunling, a greenhouse is a perfect way to provide local produce that is of high quality and is competitively priced when compared to imported produce in the market. “The crops locally produced will be of better quality than imported crops which are potentially damaged during transportation, storage and handling,” he said. “However, you will need a lot of extensive knowledge if you want to grow in a greenhouse over here, as the day temperatures are reaching over 50 degrees Celsius in the harsh summer months.”


Sheikh Rashid, General Manager of Peninsula Farms

In order to be able to grow a crop of a high quality the greenhouses of Peninsula Farms are equipped with high end technology. “We have a pad and fan cooling system in each greenhouse, in order to keep the temperature lower than the outside temperature,” said Dunling. “Together with an extensive ventilation system and a climate control system from Priva, we are able to achieve a good climate inside. Energy prices are not a big cost for us, and we have our own RO water well. Right now the summer is the biggest challenge for us, but we are putting plans in place to grow through the summer in temperatures that reach 50c outside, as our customers demand a year round supply.”

The greenhouses are being operated on a daily basis by Dunling who has an extensive background as a Grower & Consultant.  Dunling is assisted by Edi Sugiyanto who has over 12 months experience of growing in the Middle East and  the work inside the greenhouse is being carried out by local forces. They also have a sales and Marketing team led by Michael Doporto who oversees the sales and promotion of Local Bahrain Produce in the  Local stores and the Middle East Region.


From left to right: General manager Sheikh Rashid, Assistant Edi Sugiyanto and Grahame Dunling, Horticultural Development Manager.

The harvested produce of Peninsula Farms is packed on site in their own temperature controlled pack-house and cold store. “We  deliver to the local supermarkets such as Lulu, Geant and Carrefour in our own lorries”, said Dunling. “Besides this we also supply local restaurants such as Le Chocolat and we even export produce on a weekly basis to Saudi Arabia.”

According to Dunling, The Kingdom of Bahrain has got lots of potential to expand greenhouse horticulture. “There is definitely a good market, as long as you have the right people in place. You will need the right equipment and experience, because growing in the dessert is completely different from growing in Western  Europe or North America. Many have set up, only to leave soon after.

Peninsula has plans for building another 10,000 square meters this year. “Again we will choose to use the latest greenhouse design from Holland and again we will be using the Priva control system, because without the best technology you are nothing over here.”

For more information:
Peninsula Farms
Grahame Dunling
www.Peninsulafarms.com

 

Publication date: 3/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

GMA: Time is right for Nutrition Facts changes

The Nutrition Facts panel is due for an update, said the Grocery Manufacturers Association in response to changes proposed by the FDA Thursday.


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“It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science,” said Pam Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, in a statement. “Equally as important is ensuring that any changes ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers.”

The updates proposed by FDA would include disclosure of “added sugars,” vitamin D, potassium, and serving sizes updated to reflect what people actually eat vs. what they should eat. “Calories from fat” would be removed and calories and serving sizes would be displayed in larger bolder type. The %DV (daily value) would be moved to the left.

“We look forward to working with the FDA and other stakeholders as these proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label make their way through the rule making process,” said Bailey.

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As FDA Implements FSMA, NASDA Seeks Support to Get the Rules Right

Assurance of safe, wholesome food is a responsibility of all of us in the food chain, whether producer, regulator or consumer. When a foodborne illness is identified, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) members realize that the job of providing safe food to the American public isn’t done.

In January 2011, historic legislation known as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became the law of the land. As a result, another step toward preventing foodborne outbreaks has occurred. FDA is in the process of writing and publishing rules, conducting outreach sessions and listening to comments. Soon the agency will switch to analyzing the comments and fashioning rewritten rules to further implement FSMA.

Proponents are pushing to get the rules in place as quickly as possible. Some have even gone to court to seek assurance that the rules will be final as soon as possible. Proponents are on all sides of the issue – industry, food safety advocates, sister regulatory agencies, the general public.

NASDA members, who often are the state regulatory component on food safety, have spent countless hours poring over the draft rules and listening to the public and to producers, particularly the small- and medium-sized farms in each of their states. We strongly believe that final rules need to be in place as soon as possible; however, we also are equally concerned that FDA get the rules right.

When a bipartisan effort in Congress passed FSMA, one of the salient points moving many members of Congress toward passage was a concern about imported food. FDA has published several rules to establish “preventive” controls for human foods, including manufactured food and raw agriculture products (fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and some seeds and sprouts). The agency has also published rules to regulate the import of food, manufactured or raw, and to establish a mechanism for third-party verification of the safety of the food products available to consumers in the United States.

Two concerns are primary to NASDA members: FDA has little experience inspecting farms, and, while anyone seeking to sell produce in the U.S. will have to adhere to the “Produce Safety” and the “Preventive Control” rules, producers are questioning whether a process that allows food brokers to verify food coming into the U.S. is a level playing field.

The current draft rules make important steps toward prevention; however, some aspects of the rules indicate a lack of knowledge about farming. In the process of implementing the rules, producers will need to learn from FDA and other food-safety experts about the “preventive controls” that are available to enhance the production of safe food.

At the same time, however, FDA needs to recognize legitimate farming practices – merely changing farming practices will likely drive some producers out of the marketplace rather than assure safer food. FDA has provided some flexibility for producers; however, many producers believe they do not go far enough or focus on the right things.

FDA has exhibited an open mind regarding the rules by meeting with many groups during the comment period. Since the first drafts of the several rules out for comment need considerable revision, NASDA members seek assurances that FDA will publish second proposed rule drafts for public comment before making the rules final.

With good intentions by advocates desiring to get the rules in place, the courts have mandated June 2015 as the date when FDA must have final rules published. While NASDA supports getting the law fully implemented as quickly as is reasonably possible, the members unanimously voted at their annual meeting to request Congress to re-set the clock to assure adequate time for a second public review of the rules implementing this historic legislation. To move forward simply by the clock risks FDA publishing rules that producers do not understand or rules that simply miss the boat.

NASDA seeks this action in the belief that food safety will be better advanced by getting the rules right and allowing for better understanding by producers and therefore a higher degree of voluntary compliance. We see this path as a better way forward than mandating a publication date certain when the rules must be final. This will also allow time for serious attention to establishing a workable federal, state and local integrated food-safety system. This concurrent dialogue is needed if we are to have an integrated system is in place to implement the rules, once they are final.

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