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Wisconsin Names Two Farms That Sourced Raw Milk Linked to Outbreaks

Wisconsin state officials have released the names of two farms that supplied raw milk linked to Campylobacter outbreaks of the past few years.

In September 2014, 38 people were sickened after attending a potluck meal for the Durand High School football team. According to the state Department of Health Services memo released Friday, a farm operated by Roland and Diana Reed of Arkansaw, WI, was the source of the unpasteurized milk served at the meal.

Officials also stated that milk from Schaal Dairy Farm was linked to 16 illnesses that occurred at North Cape Elementary School in Franksville, WI, in 2011.

The information was released following a public record request from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The newspaper reports that the health department plans to release their report on the Durand outbreak on Monday, following which the state’s Agriculture Department will decide whether to take enforcement action.

Food Safety News

Fall mangos will be sourced largely from Brazil and Ecuador

With Mexico ending a bit early, Brazil and then Ecuador will be the main sources for mango supplies for the last third of the 2014 calendar year.

Typically, Mexico lasts well into September overlapping the Brazilian deal, which usually gets underway in August and has an eight- to 10-week shipping window before greater volume from Ecuador hits the market in late October and early November.

But this year cold August weather from Mexico to South America resulted in an early end to the Mexican deal and a late start for Brazil.

Albert Perez, managing member of Continental Fresh in Coconut Grove, FL, whose company specializes in Brazilian mangos, told The Produce News in early September that the Brazilian deal was running about three weeks behind schedule.

He said the firm usually gets some Brazilian mangos by the middle of August, but this year the first ship didn’t arrive into Miami until Sept. 5. He expects volume to be light through September and peak in October with good supplies in November as well.

Perez was cautiously optimistic that the Brazilian deal could capture some sales at the back end, but that will only occur if Ecuador is late, extending Brazil’s marketing window.

Sabine Henry, who is involved in tropical fruit sales for Central American Produce Inc. in Pompano Beach, FL, explained that because of the freight cost differential, Ecuadorian fruit lands in the United States at a lower cost point. And the greater volume usually leads to a market price drop. Brazil then finds it difficult to get the prices it needs to ship to North America.

At that point, which is typically late October or early November, Brazilian shippers look elsewhere for buyers for their production.

Agreeing that timing is everything, Isabel Freeland, vice president of Coast Tropical in San Diego, said this year might offer a very good timeline for fruit from Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. She spoke to The Produce News Sept. 10, one day after returning from a two-week trip that included stops in Ecuador and Peru.

“Brazil is very late,” she said. “They are two to three weeks behind last year, and it looks like they are going to have 30 percent less volume than in prior years.”

This has led to a strong market, which Henry of Central American said was at a solid $ 9 during the week of Sept. 8.

Freeland said Brazil’s late start would normally result in a shorter deal, but that might not be the case this year.  

“Ecuador is also late,” she said. “They don’t look like they are going to get started until week 39, which is the week of September 21. They won’t ship until week 40 [the last week of September], and that will only be the Ataulfos (yellow-skinned mangos). The red fruit, which is what competes with Brazil, won’t start until around October 15.”

With that start date, Freeland does not expect red mangos from Ecuador to hit the U.S. market until very late October, giving Brazil great access to the U.S. retail trade through that month and into November. If that occurs, Brazil can still achieve about an eight- to nine-week market widow unfettered by cheaper fruit.

After surveying some orchards and talking to people in the Ecuadorian mango industry, Freeland believes that country will also be down as much as 30 percent for this year. On the plus side, she expects the volume to be more evenly spread out over a two-month period, creating better marketing conditions.  

Following Ecuador, Peru should enter the U.S. market with fruit by early January. This will also be a bit late, as Freeland said the same weather issues affecting Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador are affecting Peru.

“I was just there last week and it was very cool in the nights,” she said. “You never have to wear a sweater in the evening, but I had to on this trip.”

Peru should have a good supply of mangos throughout January and well into February. Freeland said that despite the reduced volume from the Central America and South American countries this fall, there should be promotable volume from these countries throughout November and well into December and then again in January and February.  At that point, Mexico will have fruit again and the cycle will begin anew.

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

Water sourced from plants on upswing: Presenter

Cold pressed juices; coconut water as an ingredient; and water sourced from plants are trending in the natural and organic beverage space, Kathryn Peters, EVP of SPINS told attendees of the Bevnet Beverage Entrepreneur & Innovation Conference, Thursday.

“Coconut water is breaking into segments like coffee, tea, lemonade, energy drinks and more,” said Peters. “Waters that are plant sourced from cactus, olives, artichoke, tree sap and watermelon” are also on an upward trajectory, along with “drinks with social responsibility at their core.”

The fastest growing segments of natural beverages (which include organic drinks) by dollar volume are ready-to-drink coffee (71%), refrigerated vegetable juices and blends (45%) and alternative sweetened soda (29%), according to SPINS. Those exhibiting the sharpest declines are energy or functional beverages (-26%), celebration beverages (-18%) and flavored water (-8%).

Consumers are also interested in beverages with protein for weight management, and aloe and vinegar for digestive health, said Laura McCord, senior director of retail growth solutions at Kehe, who also presented at the show.

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