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Survey shows increase in resistance to drug therapies among bovine respiratory disease cases

June 28, 2013 — A survey of records of bovine respiratory disease cases at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory showed that drug resistance in one of the primary pathogens that cause BRD, Mannheimia haemolytica, increased over a three-year period.

“We have been seeing an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria that cause pneumonia (also called BRD) in cattle,” said Brian Lubbers, assistant professor in the diagnostic lab, based at Kansas State University. “Many of these bacteria are resistant to, not one, but almost all of the antibiotics that we use to treat pneumonia in cattle.”

BRD is one of the most important diseases of feedlot cattle, particularly, said Lubbers, adding that the economic toll from the disease has been estimated to approach $ 1 billion annually in the United States alone, if one takes into account drug and labor costs, decreased production, and animal death losses.

Until now, one of the aspects that has not been studied very well is the cost linked to antimicrobial resistance in BRD cases, he said. To take a closer look, he and colleague Gregg Hanzlicek, also an assistant professor in the diagnostic lab, examined records of cases in which specimens of bovine lung tissue were submitted to the diagnostic lab over the three years, 2009 to 2011. Most of the cattle were from Kansas and Nebraska.

They found that over that period, a high percentage of M. haemolytica bacteria recovered from cattle lungs were resistant to several of the drugs typically used to treat that pathogen. The researchers also found, however, that no specimens were resistant to all six antimicrobial drugs.

The study was funded internally by the diagnostic lab.

Using resistance to three or more antimicrobials as the definition of multi-drug resistance, 63 percent of the bacteria would be classified as multidrug resistant in 2011, compared with 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2009.

The results of the study were published by the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.

“Antimicrobial resistance in veterinary medicine has received a considerable amount of recognition as a potential factor leading to antimicrobial resistance in human medicine,” Lubbers said. “However, the contribution of multidrug resistance to limited or failed therapy in veterinary patients has received much less attention.”

Because there are a limited number of antimicrobial drugs that can be used for treatment of BRD pathogens, Lubbers said, multidrug resistance in those pathogens poses a severe threat to the livestock industry.

“We (KSVDL) consider this type of information to be part of our active ongoing disease surveillance and will continue this work,” Lubbers said. “The questions of how these bacteria develop or where they come from, how widespread they are, and what is the impact on cattle production are still unanswered. We are actively seeking industry partners to investigate these questions.”

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Produce Shows Sales Gains

WASHINGTON —  Fresh fruit and vegetables both posted sales gains the first quarter of this year over the same period a year earlier, according to the latest edition of FreshFacts for Retail, a quarterly research report from The United Fresh Foundation.

Produce departments as a whole experienced a  2% increase in volume sales, and 7% increase in average dollar sales, spurref by a 4.9% increase in retail prices.


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By volume sold, vegetables beat fruit, with a 2.1% increase, while fruit posted an increase of 1.4% over the same quarter in 2012.

In dollar sales, fruit outdid vegetables, increasing nearly 8% over the first quarter last year, with vegetable dollar growth coming in at 5.7%.

The report also includes these stand-out findings:

Nine out of 10 of the top 10 selling fruits posted dollar gains over first quarter 2012, with citrus, melon, specialty fruit and apples chalking up double-digit gains, mostly related to price increases, the research showed, and half of the top 10 vegetable categories gained both in dollar and volume sales.

Read more: Whole Foods Imagines Produce Department Without Bees

The report also showed sales gains for organic and value-added fruits and vegetables. Organic fruits increased 24.4% in dollar sales, and organic vegetables showed an increase of 14.9%.

Value-added fruits increased in dollar and volume sales by 10.7% and 2.9%, respectively.

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Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Food labels can reduce livestock environmental impacts, study shows

With global food demand expected to outpace the availability of water by the year 2050, consumers can make a big difference in reducing the water used in livestock production.

“It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and in fact may be necessary, to achieve big results in a production system,” said Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy.

White and WSU economist Mike Brady demonstrated that the willingness of consumers to pay a little more for meat products labeled to reflect a single, environmentally friendly production practice, such as water conservation, can add up to real change.

But such single-focus labels don’t yet exist, and labels that are available can be confusing and misleading.

Saving billions of gallons of water

The study shows that meat packers and retailers can play a key role in creating incentives for water-saving livestock production with labels that appeal to consumer values, White said.

White and Brady found that by paying 10 percent more for environmentally labeled meat products, consumers could bring about huge water savings in livestock production. In 2013, the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef. Based on this number, White estimated that 76 to 129 billion gallons of water could be saved annually.

On the upper end, this equals the water used annually by 3.5 million people, roughly the population of the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

White, a postdoctoral scholar with the National Animal Nutrition Program, conducted the research as part of her doctoral studies in the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU.

Single vs. multiple label claims

“It is difficult to tease out a product’s true environmental impact from currently available labels,” said White. “Consumers may believe a label represents an environmental, health or animal welfare benefit but it’s difficult for them to really know.”

White and Brady were able to distinguish and compare consumers’ willingness to pay for meat products with labels that reflect a single attribute of reducing environmental impact and labels that represent a suite of attributes. Among the purely environmental labels, they evaluated different price premiums to find the sweet spot — where the lowest premium that consumers found palatable would also cover the costs to the producer of reducing water use.

The study also demonstrated that moderate price premiums for all cuts of meat that are acceptable to the average consumer will have a greater impact on water conservation than high premiums for a few niche products.

Growing greener grass

White explained that cow/calf operations represent an opportunity to significantly reduce water use in beef production. Feeding pregnant cows and suckling calves typically requires pasture or rangeland and represents a substantial maintenance cost. Yet, in the U.S., intensive, more efficient pasture management is not what it could be, White said.

Growing grass more efficiently through strategic irrigation, fertilization and grazing strategies can significantly improve yield and save water but adds to producer cost. However, the price premiums associated with environmental labels can offset those costs.

The livestock industry wants to demonstrate improvements in sustainability, White said. To do so, growers need consumer cooperation and willingness to pay a little more for products produced with a reduced environmental impact.

“This study demonstrated that consumers are willing,” White said. “Now we just need to connect the dots to accurately represent a product’s environmental impact in a way that is meaningful, understandable and attractive to consumers.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Sylvia Kantor. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Food labels can reduce livestock environmental impacts, study shows

With global food demand expected to outpace the availability of water by the year 2050, consumers can make a big difference in reducing the water used in livestock production.

“It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and in fact may be necessary, to achieve big results in a production system,” said Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy.

White and WSU economist Mike Brady demonstrated that the willingness of consumers to pay a little more for meat products labeled to reflect a single, environmentally friendly production practice, such as water conservation, can add up to real change.

But such single-focus labels don’t yet exist, and labels that are available can be confusing and misleading.

Saving billions of gallons of water

The study shows that meat packers and retailers can play a key role in creating incentives for water-saving livestock production with labels that appeal to consumer values, White said.

White and Brady found that by paying 10 percent more for environmentally labeled meat products, consumers could bring about huge water savings in livestock production. In 2013, the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef. Based on this number, White estimated that 76 to 129 billion gallons of water could be saved annually.

On the upper end, this equals the water used annually by 3.5 million people, roughly the population of the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

White, a postdoctoral scholar with the National Animal Nutrition Program, conducted the research as part of her doctoral studies in the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU.

Single vs. multiple label claims

“It is difficult to tease out a product’s true environmental impact from currently available labels,” said White. “Consumers may believe a label represents an environmental, health or animal welfare benefit but it’s difficult for them to really know.”

White and Brady were able to distinguish and compare consumers’ willingness to pay for meat products with labels that reflect a single attribute of reducing environmental impact and labels that represent a suite of attributes. Among the purely environmental labels, they evaluated different price premiums to find the sweet spot — where the lowest premium that consumers found palatable would also cover the costs to the producer of reducing water use.

The study also demonstrated that moderate price premiums for all cuts of meat that are acceptable to the average consumer will have a greater impact on water conservation than high premiums for a few niche products.

Growing greener grass

White explained that cow/calf operations represent an opportunity to significantly reduce water use in beef production. Feeding pregnant cows and suckling calves typically requires pasture or rangeland and represents a substantial maintenance cost. Yet, in the U.S., intensive, more efficient pasture management is not what it could be, White said.

Growing grass more efficiently through strategic irrigation, fertilization and grazing strategies can significantly improve yield and save water but adds to producer cost. However, the price premiums associated with environmental labels can offset those costs.

The livestock industry wants to demonstrate improvements in sustainability, White said. To do so, growers need consumer cooperation and willingness to pay a little more for products produced with a reduced environmental impact.

“This study demonstrated that consumers are willing,” White said. “Now we just need to connect the dots to accurately represent a product’s environmental impact in a way that is meaningful, understandable and attractive to consumers.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Sylvia Kantor. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Food labels can reduce livestock environmental impacts, study shows

With global food demand expected to outpace the availability of water by the year 2050, consumers can make a big difference in reducing the water used in livestock production.

“It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and in fact may be necessary, to achieve big results in a production system,” said Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy.

White and WSU economist Mike Brady demonstrated that the willingness of consumers to pay a little more for meat products labeled to reflect a single, environmentally friendly production practice, such as water conservation, can add up to real change.

But such single-focus labels don’t yet exist, and labels that are available can be confusing and misleading.

Saving billions of gallons of water

The study shows that meat packers and retailers can play a key role in creating incentives for water-saving livestock production with labels that appeal to consumer values, White said.

White and Brady found that by paying 10 percent more for environmentally labeled meat products, consumers could bring about huge water savings in livestock production. In 2013, the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef. Based on this number, White estimated that 76 to 129 billion gallons of water could be saved annually.

On the upper end, this equals the water used annually by 3.5 million people, roughly the population of the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

White, a postdoctoral scholar with the National Animal Nutrition Program, conducted the research as part of her doctoral studies in the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU.

Single vs. multiple label claims

“It is difficult to tease out a product’s true environmental impact from currently available labels,” said White. “Consumers may believe a label represents an environmental, health or animal welfare benefit but it’s difficult for them to really know.”

White and Brady were able to distinguish and compare consumers’ willingness to pay for meat products with labels that reflect a single attribute of reducing environmental impact and labels that represent a suite of attributes. Among the purely environmental labels, they evaluated different price premiums to find the sweet spot — where the lowest premium that consumers found palatable would also cover the costs to the producer of reducing water use.

The study also demonstrated that moderate price premiums for all cuts of meat that are acceptable to the average consumer will have a greater impact on water conservation than high premiums for a few niche products.

Growing greener grass

White explained that cow/calf operations represent an opportunity to significantly reduce water use in beef production. Feeding pregnant cows and suckling calves typically requires pasture or rangeland and represents a substantial maintenance cost. Yet, in the U.S., intensive, more efficient pasture management is not what it could be, White said.

Growing grass more efficiently through strategic irrigation, fertilization and grazing strategies can significantly improve yield and save water but adds to producer cost. However, the price premiums associated with environmental labels can offset those costs.

The livestock industry wants to demonstrate improvements in sustainability, White said. To do so, growers need consumer cooperation and willingness to pay a little more for products produced with a reduced environmental impact.

“This study demonstrated that consumers are willing,” White said. “Now we just need to connect the dots to accurately represent a product’s environmental impact in a way that is meaningful, understandable and attractive to consumers.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Sylvia Kantor. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Consumers will pay more for eco-friendly plants, study shows

People concerned with future consequences of their decisions will pay up to 16 cents more for eco-friendly plants, a new University of Florida study shows.

While 16 cents may not seem like much, researchers see any willingness to pay more to help the ornamental plants industry and the environment as good news.

Previous research has investigated the effects of perceived long-term consequences on people’s environmental behavior, including recycling or using public transportation. So UF food and resource economics assistant professor Hayk Khachatryan wanted to understand how differences in people’s perceptions of long- and short-term consequences affect plant preferences and purchase decisions.

For the study, 159 people bought plants at experimental auctions at Texas A&M University, the University of Minnesota and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, Canada. The participants were recruited through Craigslist and community newsletters. Researchers studied differences in what’s called “consideration of future consequences” ─ the extent to which consumers consider potential outcomes of their actions ─ and how that affected their willingness to pay for edible and ornamental plants. Specifically, the study focused on their preferences for plant attributes related to sustainable production methods, container types and origin of production.

Eighty-eight of the 159 participants were deemed concerned about the consequences of their purchases. The study showed they were willing to pay up to 16 cents more for plants grown using energy-saving and sustainable production methods, sold in non-conventional containers as well as plants produced locally.

Some people recycle, exercise or diet, actions that take time to see results. Paying for long-term environmental conservation is a bit like working out or jogging, Khachatryan said.

“When you exercise, you don’t see the benefits right away,” he said.

Similarly, the benefits of pro-environmental production practices in the ornamental plants industry may not produce immediate impacts. Thus, consumers’ plant choices may depend on how much they consider future versus immediate consequences of their choices, said Khachatryan, a member of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences who conducts research at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka.

The price increase is relatively low, but even 16 cents can help retailers offset their costs, researchers said. Some larger retailers may go through thousands of plants in a short period, and that can add up quickly, said Ben Campbell, a University of Connecticut extension economist, and study co-author.

A garden center or retailer may have a thin margin between production cost and the sales price, Campbell said. By adding 16 cents per plant ─ the amount some say they’re willing to pay for eco-friendly plants ─ the margin can increase considerably, he said. That makes garden centers and other retailers more profitable and, perhaps more sustainable. The study is published online in the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Stenzel says new poll shows it’s not time to roll back school nutrition standards

WASHINGTON — United Fresh Produce Association Chief Executive Tom Stenzel said a new poll that shows parents overwhelmingly support new school meal standards that require more fruits and vegetables shows it’s not time to roll back the standards in the nation’s schools.

Some 500 produce representatives are in Washington, DC, this week for the group’s annual Washington Conference, and school nutrition standards are on the agenda during a session, “Why fighting for Healthier School Meals is So Important.”

The new poll, released Sept. 8 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association found 91 percent of parents support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.

The findings come as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Smart Snacks” standards, which took effect July 1, represent the first major update to national guidelines for school snack foods and beverages in more than 30 years. To meet the standards, a snack food must be a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy or whole grain; it must have fewer than 200 calories; and it must be low in fat, sodium and sugar.

Similar nutrition standards for school breakfasts and lunches already are in effect, and the USDA said they’re being met by some 90 percent of school districts.

Congressional Republicans, however, have attacked the new standards and are advocating for school districts to opt out of the nutrition overhaul, at least temporarily.

“The new national poll underscores the strong support by parents for the new healthier school meal standards that require more fresh fruits and vegetables,” Stenzel said. “We put our kids’ health first and Congress must continue to do the same. There can be no going back to water down the modest requirement that children take at least one-half cup of fruit or vegetable at breakfast and lunch.”

Stenzel added, “Instead, we should be looking for ways to reach our public health goal of half the plate being fruits and vegetables, not just half a cup.”

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

Stenzel says new poll shows it’s not time to roll back school nutrition standards

WASHINGTON — United Fresh Produce Association Chief Executive Tom Stenzel said a new poll that shows parents overwhelmingly support new school meal standards that require more fruits and vegetables shows it’s not time to roll back the standards in the nation’s schools.

Some 500 produce representatives are in Washington, DC, this week for the group’s annual Washington Conference, and school nutrition standards are on the agenda during a session, “Why fighting for Healthier School Meals is So Important.”

The new poll, released Sept. 8 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association found 91 percent of parents support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.

The findings come as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Smart Snacks” standards, which took effect July 1, represent the first major update to national guidelines for school snack foods and beverages in more than 30 years. To meet the standards, a snack food must be a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy or whole grain; it must have fewer than 200 calories; and it must be low in fat, sodium and sugar.

Similar nutrition standards for school breakfasts and lunches already are in effect, and the USDA said they’re being met by some 90 percent of school districts.

Congressional Republicans, however, have attacked the new standards and are advocating for school districts to opt out of the nutrition overhaul, at least temporarily.

“The new national poll underscores the strong support by parents for the new healthier school meal standards that require more fresh fruits and vegetables,” Stenzel said. “We put our kids’ health first and Congress must continue to do the same. There can be no going back to water down the modest requirement that children take at least one-half cup of fruit or vegetable at breakfast and lunch.”

Stenzel added, “Instead, we should be looking for ways to reach our public health goal of half the plate being fruits and vegetables, not just half a cup.”

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

Tested CA Produce Shows Little or No Detectable Pesticide Residues

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced Tuesday that the majority of 2013 produce samples it tested had little or no detectable pesticide residues and posed no health risk to the public. Ninety-five percent of all California-grown produce, sampled by DPR in 2013, was in compliance with the allowable limits, the agency stated.

DPR tested 3,483 samples of different fruits and vegetables sold in farmers markets, wholesale and retail outlets, and distribution centers statewide. More than 155 different fruits and vegetables were sampled to reflect the dietary needs of California’s diverse population.

“This is a vivid example that California fresh produce is among the safest in the world, when it comes to pesticide exposure,” said DPR Director Brian R. Leahy. “DPR’s scientifically robust monitoring program is an indication that a strong pesticide regulatory program and dedicated growers can deliver produce that consumers can have confidence in.”

Click here for a video story of inspectors collecting samples and testing for pesticides.

Graphic courtesy of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Of all 3,483 samples collected in 2013:

  • 43.53 percent of the samples had no pesticide residues detected.
  • 51.51 percent of the samples had residues that were within the legal tolerance levels.
  • 3.99 percent of the samples had illegal residues of pesticides not approved for use on the commodities tested.
  • 0.98 percent of the samples had illegal pesticide residues in excess of established tolerances. A produce item with an illegal residue level does not necessarily indicate a health hazard.
Each piece of fruit or vegetable may legally contain trace amounts of one or more pesticides. The amount and type of pesticide (known as a tolerance) is limited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DPR’s Residue Monitoring Program staff carries out random inspections to verify that these limits are not exceeded.

The produce is tested in laboratories using state-of-the-art equipment operated by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). In 2013, these scientists frequently detected illegal pesticide residues on produce including:

  • Cactus Pads from Mexico
  • Ginger from China
  • Snow Peas from Guatemala
  • Spinach from the U.S.

Most of the 2013 illegal pesticide residues were found in produce imported from other countries and contained very low levels (a fraction of a part per million). The majority of the time they did not pose a health risk, according to DPR.

One exception occurred in 2013 when DPR discovered that cactus pads imported from Mexico were tainted with an organophosphate-based pesticide which had the potential to sicken people. DPR worked with the California Department of Public Health to issue an alert to consumers in February 2014. DPR also worked diligently to remove the entire product from store shelves and distribution centers. In addition, DPR asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to inspect produce at the borders and points of entry to stop shipments of the cactus pads into California.

California has been analyzing produce for pesticide residues since 1926 and has developed the most extensive pesticide residue testing program of its kind in the nation. The 2013 pesticide residue monitoring data and previous years are posted here.

Food Safety News

Study shows traditional grocery stores receive high marks in brand equity

The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study, which measures brand equity for more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories, finds traditional grocery store brands rank highest overall in three of the four regions surveyed. The EQ index examines three key factors of brand equity: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

This is the first time in the study’s 26-year history that Americans were surveyed about grocery retailers on a regional level using the four census regions: West, Midwest, Northeast and South. A mix of grocery retailer formats was included in the study, including traditional grocery stores (e.g. Kroger, Giant), mass retailers with grocery sections (e.g. Walmart, Target), discount grocery stores (e.g. Aldi, Food 4 Less) and club stores with grocery sections (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco), as well as the specialty grocers Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. The study awards Brand of the Year status to regionally focused, traditional grocery store brands in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions.

“These stores put an emphasis on building a relationship with the customer, and it’s paid off with positive brand equity ” Michael Treboni, executive vice president of retail professional services at Nielsen, said in a press release.

In America’s heartland, consumers named Hy-Vee as the Midwest Grocery Store Brand of the Year. While not among the most familiar brands for the region, consumers who are familiar with the brand give strong marks for quality and purchase consideration.

“Hy-Vee has strong purchase consideration scores and very ‘connected consumers,’ meaning they have strong feelings for the brand and believe it’s a good fit for them,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the Midwest Region Grocery Store category average were Meijer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart (Groceries) and Jewel & Jewel-Osco.

In the Northeast, Wegmans is Brand of the Year in the Grocery Store category. With about 80 stores, most located in New York and Pennsylvania, Wegmans has a smaller footprint than many competitors in the region.

“However, Wegmans’ exceptional quality and purchase consideration ratings make them look like a regional David among national-brand Goliaths,” Treboni said.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, ShopRite, Hannaford Bros., BJ’s Wholesale Club (Groceries), Stop & Shop, Costco (Groceries), Price Chopper and Giant Food Stores also rank above the Northeast Region Grocery Store category average.

Stretching from Texas to Florida and up the east coast to Maryland, the South region is a sprawling patchwork of grocery retailers, and Publix is its Grocery Store Brand of the Year for 2014.

Primarily located in Florida and Georgia, Publix earns the top ranking with strong purchase consideration ratings and quality marks.

“Publix has a high level of brand advocacy, which means their consumer fan base is telling others how good they feel the brand is. That’s brand strength,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the South Region Grocery Store category average are Walmart (Groceries), H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sam’s Club (Groceries) and Target (Groceries).

Costco is the Brand of the Year among West Region Grocery Stores, with the highest brand equity ranking of any brand in any region.

“While Costco is an international retailer, it has its roots in the West and that strong presence resonates in their brand equity scores,” Treboni said in the press release. “Costco has a large proportion of consumers who are ‘extremely familiar’ with the brand in the West which, along with notable quality and consideration, drives the top score.”

Other brands to rank above the category average in the West Region include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Safeway and Stater Bros. Markets.

When looking across the four regions, it is worth noting that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets are the only national brands to rank above the category average in all four regions, with consistently strong quality and purchase consideration scores. This echoes findings from the 2012 Nielsen Store Choice Drivers study, which focused on identifying store characteristics that help build equity with shoppers. The 2014 version of Store Choice Drivers will be released in the fall with a link to key EquiTrend metrics.

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

Study shows traditional grocery stores receive high marks in brand equity

The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study, which measures brand equity for more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories, finds traditional grocery store brands rank highest overall in three of the four regions surveyed. The EQ index examines three key factors of brand equity: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

This is the first time in the study’s 26-year history that Americans were surveyed about grocery retailers on a regional level using the four census regions: West, Midwest, Northeast and South. A mix of grocery retailer formats was included in the study, including traditional grocery stores (e.g. Kroger, Giant), mass retailers with grocery sections (e.g. Walmart, Target), discount grocery stores (e.g. Aldi, Food 4 Less) and club stores with grocery sections (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco), as well as the specialty grocers Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. The study awards Brand of the Year status to regionally focused, traditional grocery store brands in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions.

“These stores put an emphasis on building a relationship with the customer, and it’s paid off with positive brand equity ” Michael Treboni, executive vice president of retail professional services at Nielsen, said in a press release.

In America’s heartland, consumers named Hy-Vee as the Midwest Grocery Store Brand of the Year. While not among the most familiar brands for the region, consumers who are familiar with the brand give strong marks for quality and purchase consideration.

“Hy-Vee has strong purchase consideration scores and very ‘connected consumers,’ meaning they have strong feelings for the brand and believe it’s a good fit for them,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the Midwest Region Grocery Store category average were Meijer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart (Groceries) and Jewel & Jewel-Osco.

In the Northeast, Wegmans is Brand of the Year in the Grocery Store category. With about 80 stores, most located in New York and Pennsylvania, Wegmans has a smaller footprint than many competitors in the region.

“However, Wegmans’ exceptional quality and purchase consideration ratings make them look like a regional David among national-brand Goliaths,” Treboni said.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, ShopRite, Hannaford Bros., BJ’s Wholesale Club (Groceries), Stop & Shop, Costco (Groceries), Price Chopper and Giant Food Stores also rank above the Northeast Region Grocery Store category average.

Stretching from Texas to Florida and up the east coast to Maryland, the South region is a sprawling patchwork of grocery retailers, and Publix is its Grocery Store Brand of the Year for 2014.

Primarily located in Florida and Georgia, Publix earns the top ranking with strong purchase consideration ratings and quality marks.

“Publix has a high level of brand advocacy, which means their consumer fan base is telling others how good they feel the brand is. That’s brand strength,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the South Region Grocery Store category average are Walmart (Groceries), H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sam’s Club (Groceries) and Target (Groceries).

Costco is the Brand of the Year among West Region Grocery Stores, with the highest brand equity ranking of any brand in any region.

“While Costco is an international retailer, it has its roots in the West and that strong presence resonates in their brand equity scores,” Treboni said in the press release. “Costco has a large proportion of consumers who are ‘extremely familiar’ with the brand in the West which, along with notable quality and consideration, drives the top score.”

Other brands to rank above the category average in the West Region include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Safeway and Stater Bros. Markets.

When looking across the four regions, it is worth noting that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets are the only national brands to rank above the category average in all four regions, with consistently strong quality and purchase consideration scores. This echoes findings from the 2012 Nielsen Store Choice Drivers study, which focused on identifying store characteristics that help build equity with shoppers. The 2014 version of Store Choice Drivers will be released in the fall with a link to key EquiTrend metrics.

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

Ambrosia test shows how consumers access information

Understanding how consumers utilize package information to access Web and digital information are key questions CMI is attempting to answer via a new test of the “Ambrosia” brand apple pouch bag.  

“Use of premium packaging has been trending upward in the apple industry as well as the produce industry overall,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release.Ambrosia-QR-Code-Test  “We’ve found high-graphic packages like pouch bags create a store-level billboard for products but also can entice consumers to connect with us via social media and Web pages. We’re using this test to document what catches shopper attention and identify the methods used to connect to digital offers.”

Katharine Grove, marketing specialist at CMI said that to implement the test the company created brand new packaging for imported Ambrosia apples. She said CMI wants to determine if consumers interested in additional product information are more likely to scan a QR code with a smartphone or simply use a Web-based search engine.  CMI developed a contest, displayed on the new packaging, giving consumers the opportunity to win premium kitchen gadgets. Consumers were given the option of entering the contest by either scanning the QR code or visiting the website.

Web analytics are already providing feedback on the effectiveness of both types of implementation. Grove said that conventional thinking is QR codes have fallen out of favor with consumers and most shoppers respond to Web-based addresses.

“We’re about 75 days into the Ambrosia test and we’re quite surprised with the findings,” said Grove. “To date, approximately 46 percent of all consumer responses have come by QR code with 54 percent from the Web address. QR codes may have lost some momentum with consumers, but our packaging data is showing that this remains a powerful vehicle for connecting with shoppers.”

CMI will use the findings from this packaging test to determine future messaging to include on packages. The test will conclude at the end of the import Ambrosia season in August.

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

Ambrosia test shows how consumers access information

Understanding how consumers utilize package information to access Web and digital information are key questions CMI is attempting to answer via a new test of the “Ambrosia” brand apple pouch bag.  

“Use of premium packaging has been trending upward in the apple industry as well as the produce industry overall,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release.Ambrosia-QR-Code-Test  “We’ve found high-graphic packages like pouch bags create a store-level billboard for products but also can entice consumers to connect with us via social media and Web pages. We’re using this test to document what catches shopper attention and identify the methods used to connect to digital offers.”

Katharine Grove, marketing specialist at CMI said that to implement the test the company created brand new packaging for imported Ambrosia apples. She said CMI wants to determine if consumers interested in additional product information are more likely to scan a QR code with a smartphone or simply use a Web-based search engine.  CMI developed a contest, displayed on the new packaging, giving consumers the opportunity to win premium kitchen gadgets. Consumers were given the option of entering the contest by either scanning the QR code or visiting the website.

Web analytics are already providing feedback on the effectiveness of both types of implementation. Grove said that conventional thinking is QR codes have fallen out of favor with consumers and most shoppers respond to Web-based addresses.

“We’re about 75 days into the Ambrosia test and we’re quite surprised with the findings,” said Grove. “To date, approximately 46 percent of all consumer responses have come by QR code with 54 percent from the Web address. QR codes may have lost some momentum with consumers, but our packaging data is showing that this remains a powerful vehicle for connecting with shoppers.”

CMI will use the findings from this packaging test to determine future messaging to include on packages. The test will conclude at the end of the import Ambrosia season in August.

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

Ambrosia test shows how consumers access information

Understanding how consumers utilize package information to access Web and digital information are key questions CMI is attempting to answer via a new test of the “Ambrosia” brand apple pouch bag.  

“Use of premium packaging has been trending upward in the apple industry as well as the produce industry overall,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release.Ambrosia-QR-Code-Test  “We’ve found high-graphic packages like pouch bags create a store-level billboard for products but also can entice consumers to connect with us via social media and Web pages. We’re using this test to document what catches shopper attention and identify the methods used to connect to digital offers.”

Katharine Grove, marketing specialist at CMI said that to implement the test the company created brand new packaging for imported Ambrosia apples. She said CMI wants to determine if consumers interested in additional product information are more likely to scan a QR code with a smartphone or simply use a Web-based search engine.  CMI developed a contest, displayed on the new packaging, giving consumers the opportunity to win premium kitchen gadgets. Consumers were given the option of entering the contest by either scanning the QR code or visiting the website.

Web analytics are already providing feedback on the effectiveness of both types of implementation. Grove said that conventional thinking is QR codes have fallen out of favor with consumers and most shoppers respond to Web-based addresses.

“We’re about 75 days into the Ambrosia test and we’re quite surprised with the findings,” said Grove. “To date, approximately 46 percent of all consumer responses have come by QR code with 54 percent from the Web address. QR codes may have lost some momentum with consumers, but our packaging data is showing that this remains a powerful vehicle for connecting with shoppers.”

CMI will use the findings from this packaging test to determine future messaging to include on packages. The test will conclude at the end of the import Ambrosia season in August.

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

Ambrosia test shows how consumers access information

Understanding how consumers utilize package information to access Web and digital information are key questions CMI is attempting to answer via a new test of the “Ambrosia” brand apple pouch bag.  

“Use of premium packaging has been trending upward in the apple industry as well as the produce industry overall,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release.Ambrosia-QR-Code-Test  “We’ve found high-graphic packages like pouch bags create a store-level billboard for products but also can entice consumers to connect with us via social media and Web pages. We’re using this test to document what catches shopper attention and identify the methods used to connect to digital offers.”

Katharine Grove, marketing specialist at CMI said that to implement the test the company created brand new packaging for imported Ambrosia apples. She said CMI wants to determine if consumers interested in additional product information are more likely to scan a QR code with a smartphone or simply use a Web-based search engine.  CMI developed a contest, displayed on the new packaging, giving consumers the opportunity to win premium kitchen gadgets. Consumers were given the option of entering the contest by either scanning the QR code or visiting the website.

Web analytics are already providing feedback on the effectiveness of both types of implementation. Grove said that conventional thinking is QR codes have fallen out of favor with consumers and most shoppers respond to Web-based addresses.

“We’re about 75 days into the Ambrosia test and we’re quite surprised with the findings,” said Grove. “To date, approximately 46 percent of all consumer responses have come by QR code with 54 percent from the Web address. QR codes may have lost some momentum with consumers, but our packaging data is showing that this remains a powerful vehicle for connecting with shoppers.”

CMI will use the findings from this packaging test to determine future messaging to include on packages. The test will conclude at the end of the import Ambrosia season in August.

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