Blog Archives

“Banana shortage causes remarkably high prices in summer”

Marcel van der Lem:
“Banana shortage causes remarkably high prices in summer”

Although traditionally bananas are eaten a lot less during summer, the past weeks showed a remarkably high level. “Usually during summer production is larger and sales are less, but as a result of a storm in Colombia, during which a lot of damage was done to the plantations, a banana shortage arose”, says Marcel van der Lem of the wholesaler and ripening facility from Uitgeest that bears his name.


“Currently the market price is around 15% higher than average, but will probably still go up. Although cheaper ones can be found, you’ll get the best bananas in the Netherlands from us,” Marcel laughs. “A month ago, the market price was also higher than average. The price went up then, also because consumption is increasing now. I don’t expect the price to go down again any time soon. Demand is consistent, but that also depends on the weather. With warm weather, people consume more tropical fruit and fewer bananas. All in all, banana consumption is quite high in the Netherlands.”


Van der Lem has 28 ripening cells with a capacity of 33,000 boxes.

Its clients are Dutch retailers and exporters. The organic share of bananas in Van der Lem’s ripening facility in Uitgeest is 20%.

According to director Marcel van der Lem, this rather high share is caused by the fact that the ripening facility is well able to work with small loads. “For us, it’s no problem if we get one container each week with organic bananas, to deliver it over the next week at a pallet a day. We’re working with quite a few Fairtrade bananas, but it’s mostly smaller purchases. So I don’t see the volume increasing significantly.”


The well-known 99 cents Jumbo asks for its bananas, hasn’t been imitated much by other retailers, says Marcel. “Personally, I don’t think it’s wise for retail to structurally drop prices, but they have every right to do so. Although with the low prices for traditional bananas, it becomes ever harder for the organic bananas, because the price difference gets too big. The Dutch consumer is apparently susceptible to the low prices for traditional bananas.”

For more information:
Marcel van der Lem
Van der Lem B.V.
Molenwerf 26
1911 DB Uitgeest
Tel: +31(0)251 – 362 345
[email protected]
www.vdlem.nl

Publication date: 9/15/2014


FreshPlaza.com

“Momentous summer for English cherries”

Jon Clark – Total Cherry
“Momentous summer for English cherries”

The English cherry season came an early close after a very positive season, says Jon Clark, Director at Total Cherry. They are now importing from the North-west US, Clark says this will also come to an early end due to wet weather bringing an early finish to exports, he is expecting supply to end early to mid September, a couple of weeks earlier than normal.

This has been a momentous summer for English cherries, according to Clark, “Volumes were up on last year, although not by as much as had been predicted by some. The only slight down point for the growers was the timing, it was early so it overlapped with the Spanish Picota cherry which retails at just £1 a pack, creating a different competition on the shelf to what they have experienced before.”

“Normally the English crop is peaking at the end of July just as the Picota is coming to an end, but this year they were side by side on the shelves. Despite this though the English cherries still sold at good prices and there was phenomenal growth in demand for both English and imported cherries.”

For more information:
Jon Clark
Total Cherry
Tel: 0044 1775 717180
Email: [email protected] 
www.totalcherry.co.uk

Publication date: 8/27/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Good rates punctuate summer trucking season

The summer transportation season was active with good, strong rates at numbers allowing truckers to make a decent living. At least that was the view of a couple of New York truck brokers surveyed on the subject in mid-August.

“May, June and July were super busy,” said Lance Dichter of LD Logistics, based in the Bronx, NY. “August has fallen off a bit but we had a good strong summer.”

Paul Kazan, president of Target Interstate Systems Inc., also headquartered on the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, agreed.

“We scratched the ceiling at $ 10,000 in May, which was too high,” he said. “All summer the rate has been hovering between $ 7,000 and $ 8,000. It has been good business. Everybody seems to be within $ 100 to $ 200 of each other so no one getting a big competitive advantage and truckers are able to make a living.”

Both men had just read an article in the New York Times a few days earlier lamenting the shortage of truck drivers. Both agreed it could be a long-term problem as the economy heats up and truckers have other options.

“It’s a tough way to make a living,” said Kazan. “It’s not a 9-5 job. When rates are low, these guys are better off slinging hamburgers at McDonald’s. But the rates this summer have been pretty good.”

Dichter said it does take a certain type of individual willing to be away from his family for so many days in a row. He said cross-country trucking is difficult and is susceptible to driver shortage situations. “But from Florida (to destinations up the Eastern Seaboard) you are only away for a day or two and you can make a pretty good living.”

The New York Times article said driver pay has not kept up with inflation and many workers are finding jobs elsewhere. However, the article said fleet operators are starting to pay better wages and even $ 2,000 signing bonuses to attract new drivers. The article suggested that truck driving may be one profession where blue collar workers can gain the upper hand in negotiating for better rates because of a lack of drivers. Most blue collar and unionized workers have seen their wages fall, adjusted for inflation, over the past seven or eight years.

The article focused on fleets and didn’t specifically discuss independent owner-operators of refrigerated trailers that form the backbone of the fresh produce industry. Both Dichter and Kazan indicated that the produce transportation industry still operates largely under the watchful eye of the tried and true economic model of supply and demand. If the supply is down and the demand is up, rates soar.

And that is exactly what happened in May. While Kazan saw rates hit the five-figure level on his longest routes, Dichter never saw anything quite that high but he did see some hauls at $ 9,500 for the lanes he arranges transportation for.

The slow-down in cross-country August business can partly be explained by the many local deals across the country. August is the month of the backyard farmer and the one and two acre guys who sell their goods at farmers’ markets. In the aggregate in a normal year that does lead to fewer cross-country loads.

But Dichter is expecting a September bounce back. “August has been real quiet but I expect it to pick back up in September.”

Even during the lull time in August, he said perishable truck rates hung around the $ 7,000 to $ 7,100 level, which indicates that drivers and fleets operating in the fresh produce space are doing much better than those chronicled in the New York Times article, where less than $ 50,000 per year is the average wage.

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

No Movement on Agriculture Appropriations Bills as Congress Goes on Five-Week Summer Break

Congress broke for the August recess on Friday and won’t be back in the Capitol until Sept. 8.

One of the many pieces of legislative business left at a standstill is the Fiscal Year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill, which funds the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The House of Representatives began debate on its version of the bill on June 11 but has not returned to it on the floor since. One reason is that Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) loss in  his re-election primary race and decision to step down as leader changed the floor dynamics. In addition, there was uncertainty about having enough votes to pass the bill considering the school nutrition provisions that Democrats so vehemently opposed.

On the Senate side, the ag appropriations bill was grouped with the Commerce-Justice-Science and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills into a “minibus,” which was first expected to be brought up for a floor debate the week of June 16. The minibus has yet to make it to the floor, mainly because of disagreement between Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) concerning amendments.

Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, so the House is considering a vote on a short-term continuing resolution in September that would fund the federal government at current levels until mid-December.

After the midterm election on Nov. 4, Congress could vote on a FY 2015 omnibus bill or a second continuing resolution that funds the federal government for the rest of the next fiscal year, or until Sept. 30, 2015.

Food Safety News

Summer brings cherries jubilee for some cargo carriers

Summer brings cherries jubilee for some cargo carriers

Virtually all of the phrases that incorporate the word “cherries” denote something happy and positive. That’s certainly the case this summer for cargo carriers serving the Pacific Northwest, as the banner cherry crop has been the cherry on top of the sundae.

This has been especially true for cargo carriers serving Seattle’s Sea-Tac International Airport and Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia.

Tom Green, senior manager for air cargo operations and development at Sea-Tac International Airport, says when the last cherry is picked in a few weeks, it will likely be the second strongest crop on record for the region. The crop is running ahead of forecasts and is huge compared to last year, when poor weather resulted in reduced tonnage. Cherries are the top perishable cargo shipped out of Sea-Tac.

It has been a bonanza for air cargo carriers, both those with freighters in their fleets and those who only carry the sweet fruit in their bellies. Eight cargo carriers who feature freighters have hauled cherries this summer out of Seattle, Green says. That’s in addition to belly-cargo-only carriers such as Delta.

It has become the summer of the cherry charter at Sea-Tac. China Eastern and Nippon Cargo have both added weekly charters, while Polar Air Cargo has flown three weekly charters. In addition, EVA has added three weekly flights, Asiana has added two flights, China Airlines has added six and Korean Air five weekly flights. That’s 21 flights beyond scheduled services.

Seven of the carriers with freighters serve Asian destinations while Cargolux brings Washington State cherries to Europe.

“The charters are coming in empty and filling total loads,” Green says.

This year’s crop has produced about 22 million 20-pound boxes of Washington State cherries with a couple of weeks to go in the season, says B.J. Thurlby, president of the Washington State Fruit Commission. He says 92 percent of exported cherries are shipped by air.

For Sea-Tac, the cherry cargo comes on the heels of a healthy first half of the year.

“Through June, our overall cargo tonnage is up 10 percent,” Green says. “It’s been a strong spring, certainly for exports.”

During the early weeks of the cherry season, Delta was primarily moving fruit to China and Japan. As the season has progressed, its cherry traffic also heads to Europe and Australia and will continue to do so through September. Ray Curtis, Delta’s senior vice president, global cargo sales, says Delta’s cherry business has more than doubled compared to 2013. The airline operates 10 daily wide-body flights from Seattle, including a recent expansion of its Asia schedule that added service to Seoul, Tokyo-Haneda and Hong Kong.

Air Canada is another belly-cargo carrier benefiting from the cherry bounty with flights from both Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. The season’s first cherries move from Seattle to Asia.

“We’ve been able to maximize dedicated reefer trucks out of Seattle connecting into our global gateways in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal,” says Keola Pang-Ching, regional manager, cargo sales for the Western U.S. and Hawaii.

Pang-Ching says the addition of five more 777-300ers in Air Canada’s fleet has provided significant network capacity for the Northwest perishable customers. From its Vancouver gateway, Air Canada serves Narita, Incheon, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and has the only non-stop service to Sydney.  

Normally, the British Columbia cherry season begins later than the Washington State season, but an unusual amount of warm weather accelerated that process this year.

“Demand has been very strong into Hong Kong,” says Stephen Phillips, Air Canada regional manger, cargo sales for Western Canada. “We are also anticipating large volumes of cherries moving into Mainland China this year. Up until last year, British Columbia cherries were not allowed to be exported into Mainland China. As a result of trade missions and lobbying from the growers and packing houses, 2014 will be the first full season whereby we can move cherries from BC into Shanghai, Beijing and other parts of China.”

Source: www.aircargoworld.com

Publication date: 8/1/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Protect Yourself From Shellfish-Related Illnesses This Summer

Warm weather and low tides are good for harvesting shellfish, but nice weather is also ideal for naturally occurring bacteria to multiply, raising the risk of illness, warns the Washington State Department of Health.

For that reason, food-safety officials in Washington state, California and Oregon advise shellfish gatherers and consumers to follow summertime health advice as they head to area beaches to gather shellfish.

“Sunshine and warming waters are ideal conditions for the bacteria that cause vibriosis to multiply,” explains Jerrod Davis, director of Washington state’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “This raises the risk of getting sick from eating raw or undercooked shellfish — especially oysters.”

Here are some important food-safety tips for shellfish gathered in Washington state, California and Oregon:

  • Make sure the shellfish is placed on ice or refrigerated immediately after it is gathered.
  • Harvest shellfish as the tide goes out and don’t take shellfish that have been exposed by the receding tide for more than an hour.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly, especially in the summer months, because the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are killed when shellfish have reached 145 degrees F for 15 seconds. Don’t rinse cooked shellfish with seawater because it can be re-contaminated with Vibrio.

Vibriosis symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of eating infected shellfish and may include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Symptoms typically last between two to seven days. People with lowered immunity, liver disease, stomach ulcers, or who take medication to reduce stomach acid are at higher risk for severe illness and should never eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Not all shellfish illnesses can be prevented by cooking. Biotoxins, which can also be found in West Coast waters depending on saltwater conditions, are not destroyed by cooking.

Sport-harvested mussel quarantines in California, Oregon

California: The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast began on May 1. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries.

“This quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to severe illness, including coma and death,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer. “It is critical that the public honor the quarantine because the toxins found in mussels have no known antidotes and they are not reliably destroyed by cooking.”

This quarantine is intended to protect the public from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP). Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals such as bivalve shellfish (e.g., mussels and clams).

The majority of human cases of PSP illnesses occur between spring and fall.

Oregon: The coast of Oregon, from the South Jetty of the Columbia River to the California border, is also closed to mussel gathering.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning

According to information from the Oregon Health Department, warm ocean waters and calm seas are favorable conditions for a bloom of algae that produces PST. A shellfish safety closure is issued immediately if PST levels rise above the alert level of 80 micrograms per 100 grams.

Each state has up-to-date information about PST on its shellfish hotlines. (PST and vibriosis are two different health hazards that can occur in shellfish.)

Shellfish contaminated with PST can cause minor-to-severe illness or even death. PST cannot be destroyed by cooking, by adding baking soda, or by any other method of processing. PST symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing. PST(s) are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean.

Shellfish hotlines

Always check these hotlines before heading out to gather shellfish:

Washington state: 1-800-562-5632.

Oregon: 1-800-448-2474

California: 1-800-553-4133

Food Safety News

Protect Yourself From Shellfish-Related Illnesses This Summer

Warm weather and low tides are good for harvesting shellfish, but nice weather is also ideal for naturally occurring bacteria to multiply, raising the risk of illness, warns the Washington State Department of Health.

For that reason, food-safety officials in Washington state, California and Oregon advise shellfish gatherers and consumers to follow summertime health advice as they head to area beaches to gather shellfish.

“Sunshine and warming waters are ideal conditions for the bacteria that cause vibriosis to multiply,” explains Jerrod Davis, director of Washington state’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “This raises the risk of getting sick from eating raw or undercooked shellfish — especially oysters.”

Here are some important food-safety tips for shellfish gathered in Washington state, California and Oregon:

  • Make sure the shellfish is placed on ice or refrigerated immediately after it is gathered.
  • Harvest shellfish as the tide goes out and don’t take shellfish that have been exposed by the receding tide for more than an hour.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly, especially in the summer months, because the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are killed when shellfish have reached 145 degrees F for 15 seconds. Don’t rinse cooked shellfish with seawater because it can be re-contaminated with Vibrio.

Vibriosis symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of eating infected shellfish and may include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Symptoms typically last between two to seven days. People with lowered immunity, liver disease, stomach ulcers, or who take medication to reduce stomach acid are at higher risk for severe illness and should never eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Not all shellfish illnesses can be prevented by cooking. Biotoxins, which can also be found in West Coast waters depending on saltwater conditions, are not destroyed by cooking.

Sport-harvested mussel quarantines in California, Oregon

California: The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast began on May 1. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries.

“This quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to severe illness, including coma and death,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer. “It is critical that the public honor the quarantine because the toxins found in mussels have no known antidotes and they are not reliably destroyed by cooking.”

This quarantine is intended to protect the public from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP). Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals such as bivalve shellfish (e.g., mussels and clams).

The majority of human cases of PSP illnesses occur between spring and fall.

Oregon: The coast of Oregon, from the South Jetty of the Columbia River to the California border, is also closed to mussel gathering.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning

According to information from the Oregon Health Department, warm ocean waters and calm seas are favorable conditions for a bloom of algae that produces PST. A shellfish safety closure is issued immediately if PST levels rise above the alert level of 80 micrograms per 100 grams.

Each state has up-to-date information about PST on its shellfish hotlines. (PST and vibriosis are two different health hazards that can occur in shellfish.)

Shellfish contaminated with PST can cause minor-to-severe illness or even death. PST cannot be destroyed by cooking, by adding baking soda, or by any other method of processing. PST symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing. PST(s) are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean.

Shellfish hotlines

Always check these hotlines before heading out to gather shellfish:

Washington state: 1-800-562-5632.

Oregon: 1-800-448-2474

California: 1-800-553-4133

Food Safety News

Protect Yourself From Shellfish-Related Illnesses This Summer

Warm weather and low tides are good for harvesting shellfish, but nice weather is also ideal for naturally occurring bacteria to multiply, raising the risk of illness, warns the Washington State Department of Health.

For that reason, food-safety officials in Washington state, California and Oregon advise shellfish gatherers and consumers to follow summertime health advice as they head to area beaches to gather shellfish.

“Sunshine and warming waters are ideal conditions for the bacteria that cause vibriosis to multiply,” explains Jerrod Davis, director of Washington state’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “This raises the risk of getting sick from eating raw or undercooked shellfish — especially oysters.”

Here are some important food-safety tips for shellfish gathered in Washington state, California and Oregon:

  • Make sure the shellfish is placed on ice or refrigerated immediately after it is gathered.
  • Harvest shellfish as the tide goes out and don’t take shellfish that have been exposed by the receding tide for more than an hour.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly, especially in the summer months, because the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are killed when shellfish have reached 145 degrees F for 15 seconds. Don’t rinse cooked shellfish with seawater because it can be re-contaminated with Vibrio.

Vibriosis symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of eating infected shellfish and may include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Symptoms typically last between two to seven days. People with lowered immunity, liver disease, stomach ulcers, or who take medication to reduce stomach acid are at higher risk for severe illness and should never eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Not all shellfish illnesses can be prevented by cooking. Biotoxins, which can also be found in West Coast waters depending on saltwater conditions, are not destroyed by cooking.

Sport-harvested mussel quarantines in California, Oregon

California: The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast began on May 1. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries.

“This quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to severe illness, including coma and death,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer. “It is critical that the public honor the quarantine because the toxins found in mussels have no known antidotes and they are not reliably destroyed by cooking.”

This quarantine is intended to protect the public from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP). Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals such as bivalve shellfish (e.g., mussels and clams).

The majority of human cases of PSP illnesses occur between spring and fall.

Oregon: The coast of Oregon, from the South Jetty of the Columbia River to the California border, is also closed to mussel gathering.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning

According to information from the Oregon Health Department, warm ocean waters and calm seas are favorable conditions for a bloom of algae that produces PST. A shellfish safety closure is issued immediately if PST levels rise above the alert level of 80 micrograms per 100 grams.

Each state has up-to-date information about PST on its shellfish hotlines. (PST and vibriosis are two different health hazards that can occur in shellfish.)

Shellfish contaminated with PST can cause minor-to-severe illness or even death. PST cannot be destroyed by cooking, by adding baking soda, or by any other method of processing. PST symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing. PST(s) are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean.

Shellfish hotlines

Always check these hotlines before heading out to gather shellfish:

Washington state: 1-800-562-5632.

Oregon: 1-800-448-2474

California: 1-800-553-4133

Food Safety News

Protect Yourself From Shellfish-Related Illnesses This Summer

Warm weather and low tides are good for harvesting shellfish, but nice weather is also ideal for naturally occurring bacteria to multiply, raising the risk of illness, warns the Washington State Department of Health.

For that reason, food-safety officials in Washington state, California and Oregon advise shellfish gatherers and consumers to follow summertime health advice as they head to area beaches to gather shellfish.

“Sunshine and warming waters are ideal conditions for the bacteria that cause vibriosis to multiply,” explains Jerrod Davis, director of Washington state’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “This raises the risk of getting sick from eating raw or undercooked shellfish — especially oysters.”

Here are some important food-safety tips for shellfish gathered in Washington state, California and Oregon:

  • Make sure the shellfish is placed on ice or refrigerated immediately after it is gathered.
  • Harvest shellfish as the tide goes out and don’t take shellfish that have been exposed by the receding tide for more than an hour.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly, especially in the summer months, because the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are killed when shellfish have reached 145 degrees F for 15 seconds. Don’t rinse cooked shellfish with seawater because it can be re-contaminated with Vibrio.

Vibriosis symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of eating infected shellfish and may include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Symptoms typically last between two to seven days. People with lowered immunity, liver disease, stomach ulcers, or who take medication to reduce stomach acid are at higher risk for severe illness and should never eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Not all shellfish illnesses can be prevented by cooking. Biotoxins, which can also be found in West Coast waters depending on saltwater conditions, are not destroyed by cooking.

Sport-harvested mussel quarantines in California, Oregon

California: The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast began on May 1. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries.

“This quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to severe illness, including coma and death,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer. “It is critical that the public honor the quarantine because the toxins found in mussels have no known antidotes and they are not reliably destroyed by cooking.”

This quarantine is intended to protect the public from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP). Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals such as bivalve shellfish (e.g., mussels and clams).

The majority of human cases of PSP illnesses occur between spring and fall.

Oregon: The coast of Oregon, from the South Jetty of the Columbia River to the California border, is also closed to mussel gathering.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning

According to information from the Oregon Health Department, warm ocean waters and calm seas are favorable conditions for a bloom of algae that produces PST. A shellfish safety closure is issued immediately if PST levels rise above the alert level of 80 micrograms per 100 grams.

Each state has up-to-date information about PST on its shellfish hotlines. (PST and vibriosis are two different health hazards that can occur in shellfish.)

Shellfish contaminated with PST can cause minor-to-severe illness or even death. PST cannot be destroyed by cooking, by adding baking soda, or by any other method of processing. PST symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing. PST(s) are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean.

Shellfish hotlines

Always check these hotlines before heading out to gather shellfish:

Washington state: 1-800-562-5632.

Oregon: 1-800-448-2474

California: 1-800-553-4133

Food Safety News

USApple’s Summer Selfies show apples as ideal summer fruit

U.S. Apple Association is encouraging individuals to photograph their favorite summer moments with an apple in hand through its “Summer Selfie” social media and PR campaign.

apsusme“Apple Summer Selfie,” which launched July 1, encourages individuals to snap and share selfies in a summer setting with their favorite apples or apple products to celebrate the fruit’s convenience and taste during the warmest months.

Throughout the seven-week campaign (June 30–Aug. 15), while educating consumers about apples’ perfect role as a summer snack on its social channels, USApple will encourage fans to post their “Apple Summer Selfie” to its Facebook page.

The Apple Summer Selfies can be photos of apple lovers enjoying summer by themselves — or with friends or family — with an apple or apple product in hand or on their plate.

USApple will share fan selfies on its Facebook page and other social channels throughout the campaign and will choose at least one fan’s photo each week to win a special prize from one of the campaign partners: Brooks Tropicals, Dizzy Pig BBQ, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and Tajin.

“The peak of summer has traditionally been a quieter time for USApple as our growers prepare for harvest,” Wendy Brannen, USApple’s director of consumer health and public relations, said in a press release. “This year, we decided to change that by reaching out to apple lovers where they are most likely to be found this time of year — on the go and using their mobile devices — and remind them in a fun way that apples’ portability makes them the ideal fruit for summertime adventure.

“Selfie was the 2013 Oxford Dictionary ‘Word of the Year,’ so we’re going to use that to the apple industry’s advantage,” Brannen said in the release. “We look forward to seeing our social channels filled with apple selfies — from apples in-hand on a long hike to warm and gooey in a fried pie to cocktails poolside.”

USApple will accompany the Facebook contest with a PR outreach campaign, sharing apple summer recipes and health facts that underscore apples’ convenience, nutrition and role as the ideal summer fruit.  Meanwhile, the promotion will be cross promoted by participating partners.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/USApples.

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

USApple’s Summer Selfies show apples as ideal summer fruit

U.S. Apple Association is encouraging individuals to photograph their favorite summer moments with an apple in hand through its “Summer Selfie” social media and PR campaign.

apsusme“Apple Summer Selfie,” which launched July 1, encourages individuals to snap and share selfies in a summer setting with their favorite apples or apple products to celebrate the fruit’s convenience and taste during the warmest months.

Throughout the seven-week campaign (June 30–Aug. 15), while educating consumers about apples’ perfect role as a summer snack on its social channels, USApple will encourage fans to post their “Apple Summer Selfie” to its Facebook page.

The Apple Summer Selfies can be photos of apple lovers enjoying summer by themselves — or with friends or family — with an apple or apple product in hand or on their plate.

USApple will share fan selfies on its Facebook page and other social channels throughout the campaign and will choose at least one fan’s photo each week to win a special prize from one of the campaign partners: Brooks Tropicals, Dizzy Pig BBQ, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and Tajin.

“The peak of summer has traditionally been a quieter time for USApple as our growers prepare for harvest,” Wendy Brannen, USApple’s director of consumer health and public relations, said in a press release. “This year, we decided to change that by reaching out to apple lovers where they are most likely to be found this time of year — on the go and using their mobile devices — and remind them in a fun way that apples’ portability makes them the ideal fruit for summertime adventure.

“Selfie was the 2013 Oxford Dictionary ‘Word of the Year,’ so we’re going to use that to the apple industry’s advantage,” Brannen said in the release. “We look forward to seeing our social channels filled with apple selfies — from apples in-hand on a long hike to warm and gooey in a fried pie to cocktails poolside.”

USApple will accompany the Facebook contest with a PR outreach campaign, sharing apple summer recipes and health facts that underscore apples’ convenience, nutrition and role as the ideal summer fruit.  Meanwhile, the promotion will be cross promoted by participating partners.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/USApples.

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

USApple’s Summer Selfies show apples as ideal summer fruit

U.S. Apple Association is encouraging individuals to photograph their favorite summer moments with an apple in hand through its “Summer Selfie” social media and PR campaign.

apsusme“Apple Summer Selfie,” which launched July 1, encourages individuals to snap and share selfies in a summer setting with their favorite apples or apple products to celebrate the fruit’s convenience and taste during the warmest months.

Throughout the seven-week campaign (June 30–Aug. 15), while educating consumers about apples’ perfect role as a summer snack on its social channels, USApple will encourage fans to post their “Apple Summer Selfie” to its Facebook page.

The Apple Summer Selfies can be photos of apple lovers enjoying summer by themselves — or with friends or family — with an apple or apple product in hand or on their plate.

USApple will share fan selfies on its Facebook page and other social channels throughout the campaign and will choose at least one fan’s photo each week to win a special prize from one of the campaign partners: Brooks Tropicals, Dizzy Pig BBQ, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and Tajin.

“The peak of summer has traditionally been a quieter time for USApple as our growers prepare for harvest,” Wendy Brannen, USApple’s director of consumer health and public relations, said in a press release. “This year, we decided to change that by reaching out to apple lovers where they are most likely to be found this time of year — on the go and using their mobile devices — and remind them in a fun way that apples’ portability makes them the ideal fruit for summertime adventure.

“Selfie was the 2013 Oxford Dictionary ‘Word of the Year,’ so we’re going to use that to the apple industry’s advantage,” Brannen said in the release. “We look forward to seeing our social channels filled with apple selfies — from apples in-hand on a long hike to warm and gooey in a fried pie to cocktails poolside.”

USApple will accompany the Facebook contest with a PR outreach campaign, sharing apple summer recipes and health facts that underscore apples’ convenience, nutrition and role as the ideal summer fruit.  Meanwhile, the promotion will be cross promoted by participating partners.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/USApples.

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

Summer temps warm, optimism about fruit crops heats up

Michigan fruit growers have weathered the storm following serious crop losses in 2012 and are expressing optimism about a return to normal production in 2013.

“This year’s tree fruit crop will be abundant,” wrote Terry McLean, who is based at the Michigan State University Extension Service. There should be plenty of apples, pears, peaches, sweet and tart cherries, and plums to go around, unlike last year, despite several freezing events that were recorded this April and May.”

FruitOverviewMichigan’s apple growers are rebounding in 2013 following a year of disastrous losses in 2012. Growers are reporting that their trees are well rested and have an abundance of blossoms and leaves. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Looking at agriculture across the board, McLean said, “Michigan is second only to California in the diversity of its agricultural products. Although the cooler and wetter weather we have experienced in 2013 has delayed the harvest of early-season crops, there will be plenty of produce at Michigan’s farm stands and farmer’s markets to enjoy. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, rhubarb, snap peas, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, zucchini, summer squashes, sweet corn, leaf and head lettuces, salad greens, radishes, spinach, cucumbers, onions, potatoes and winter squashes are some of the many fruits and veggies that will be available.”

Last year’s rollercoaster weather all but shut down the state’s apple industry.

According to the Michigan Apple Committee, an early heat wave followed by a cold, frost-filled spring in 2012 caused Michigan growers to harvest less than 10 percent of their usual crop, typically 20-23 million bushels. In sharp contrast, the cool spring in 2013 meant apples began to blossom in typical fashion around mid-May.

Diane Smith, the committee’s executive director, honed in on the forecast for this year’s apple crop. “The growers are very optimistic about what they are seeing out in the orchard,” she told The Produce News. “The weather has been great this year compared to last. At this point, growers are thinning and waiting for the June drop. We have had great investments made into the orchards in Michigan and are looking forward to an outstanding crop this year.”

“There is one very positive aspect to no crop in 2012 — apple trees are very healthy and robust coming into the 2013 cropping season,” said Michigan State University Extension Educator Amy Irish-Brown. “This has been easy to see already this spring with an abundance of blossoms in all tree fruits and many more leaves present than normal for this early in the season. This will lead to a potentially outstanding apple crop in the fall. Healthy trees produce the most flavorful, colorful and sweet fruits.”

Smith said the apple industry will not be able to project a crop size until August. An estimate is expected to be issued at the USApple Outlook meeting which will be held Aug. 22-23 in Chicago.

“Our growers, shippers and processors are looking forward to being back in produce departments and on store shelves,” Smith commented. “We have heard from many people who really missed Michigan apples last year, and we are excited to make a strong comeback in the marketplace. Our industry continues to invest in growth and look toward the future. We are recovering from last year’s loss and moving forward.”

Jeff Manning, chief marketing officer for Michigan’s Cherry Marketing Institute, said the situation is also improved for the Michigan tart cherry industry.

“We expect a very strong, healthy tart cherry crop both in Michigan and nationally,” he told The Produce News. “It appears that we were able to maintain demand and expect a positive marketing year. The Cherry Marketing Institute promotion program is more critical than ever.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Mushroom blendability heats up at retail with summer display contest

Approximately 600 stores across the United States are competing against each other to build engaging, summer grilling-themed mushroom displays in the Mushroom Council’s inaugural Swap It or Top It retail display contest.swapeotomo

“We hope to see the Swap It or Top It Retail Display Contest continue the retail growth mushrooms have experienced in summer months the last few years,” Mushroom Council President Bart Minor said in a press release. “The contest will create excitement around mushrooms within the produce department, increase consumer awareness of the blendability cooking technique, reward retailers for promoting mushrooms and lift summer mushroom sales.”

Point-of-sale kits promoting the consumer Swap It or Top It recipe contest consisting of posters, danglers, tear-off pads, stickers and channel strips were distributed to stores in May. Seventy-five percent of buying decisions are made in-store. Point-of-sale materials can help break shoppers out of routine habits and inspire new purchases. The council-provided point- of-sale kits should encourage consumers to transform their summer grilling recipes by swapping, blending and topping with mushrooms.

Produce departments will blend their own creativity with the council-provided materials to build engaging, winning displays.

The retail display contest will take place from June 1 to June 30. More than $ 10,000 in total prizes will be awarded to 21 winning produce departments from stores across the country.

Participating stores must keep the Swap It or Top It display up for at least one week during the June contest period and submit photos to http://retail.swapitortopit.com/ by July 18.

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

Mushroom blendability heats up at retail with summer display contest

Approximately 600 stores across the United States are competing against each other to build engaging, summer grilling-themed mushroom displays in the Mushroom Council’s inaugural Swap It or Top It retail display contest.swapeotomo

“We hope to see the Swap It or Top It Retail Display Contest continue the retail growth mushrooms have experienced in summer months the last few years,” Mushroom Council President Bart Minor said in a press release. “The contest will create excitement around mushrooms within the produce department, increase consumer awareness of the blendability cooking technique, reward retailers for promoting mushrooms and lift summer mushroom sales.”

Point-of-sale kits promoting the consumer Swap It or Top It recipe contest consisting of posters, danglers, tear-off pads, stickers and channel strips were distributed to stores in May. Seventy-five percent of buying decisions are made in-store. Point-of-sale materials can help break shoppers out of routine habits and inspire new purchases. The council-provided point- of-sale kits should encourage consumers to transform their summer grilling recipes by swapping, blending and topping with mushrooms.

Produce departments will blend their own creativity with the council-provided materials to build engaging, winning displays.

The retail display contest will take place from June 1 to June 30. More than $ 10,000 in total prizes will be awarded to 21 winning produce departments from stores across the country.

Participating stores must keep the Swap It or Top It display up for at least one week during the June contest period and submit photos to http://retail.swapitortopit.com/ by July 18.

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

Retailers build excitement for summer on social media

Now that the weather is warming in most parts of the country, retailers are responding to the grateful collective sigh of consumers about summer. Supermarkets are promoting anything and everything summer related on Twitter. 

Jewel-Osco in Chicago, for instance, announced a planting events for kids late May through June. Kids will be able to leave with their own seedling.

MOM’s Organic Market, based in Rockville, Md., displayed some private label sun protection for those seasonal activities.

Last week, Giant Eagle’s Market District, gave a view of its barbecue station set up outside the store. Shoppers can purchase barbecue meat, baked potatoes, icead tea or bottled water.

Supermarket News

It’s going to be a star-spangled summer for retailers, consumers

This will be a special summer as retailers and consumers alike celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner and the nation’s heritage and culture. “We will stitch together a colorful patchwork of summertime Americana that includes picnics, parades and patriotic motifs,” said Stephanie Barlow, director of public relations and social media for the National Watermelon Promotion Board. “We’ll tap into the emotions of the present day American psyche: a deep desire to return to our roots and enjoy the sweeter things — from a cherished anthem to a juicy slice of old-fashioned watermelon.”PromotionsOVAs part of its Star Spangled Banner summertime celebration, the National Watermelon Promotion Board and National Watermelon Association will co-sponsor a retail display contest featuring watermelon. (Photo courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board)

The promotion will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the time frame tolling the unofficial beginning and end of summer. At the retail level, fruit will be stickered with a special QR code taking consumers to a dedicated splash page at www.watermelon.org/starspangledwatermelon. “There will be a sweepstakes, a Facebook promotion and weekly giveaways,” said Barlow.

The summertime celebration will also include a retail display contest the board is co-promoting with the National Watermelon Association. “Displays can vary by size, location and be inside or outside stores,” Barlow told The Produce News. “Retail managers can do whatever they want.”

The displays must be set up during the time period July 1-31, and Barlow expects competition will be heated. “We’ve seen huge creativity skills,” she said of previous years’ displays.

Winners will be announced in the fall. Cash prizes will be awarded, and the grand prize winner will be awarded a trip to the national convention.

During July, Barlow said a watermelon carving contest will also be held.

The promotion board plans to hone in on hydration during the summer and let consumers know why watermelon is the perfect and healthy response to thirst. “Watermelon is going to take aim at the hydration focus, since quite obviously you can’t spell watermelon without water,” she stated. “At 92 percent water, watermelon boasts a refreshingly high water content, and it is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making it a natural power drink. From daily adequate intake to replenishing the body post-workout, Americans’ hydration needs call for more water(melon). Survey findings will bring hydration issues to the forefront of consumer attitudes and perceptions, and combined with Michelle Obama’s ‘Drink Up’ campaign, we will position watermelon as a sweet and satisfying solution for everyday hydration needs.”

The board is also revamping and digitizing its Watermelon 101 Foodservice Toolkit, which is promoted at restaurants, culinary schools and other foodservice operations during watermelon’s peak season. “The kit will cover tips on selection, storage and handling, yield information and — of course — have plenty of foodservice-sized recipes,” Barlow said. “Watermelon as an ingredient has been gaining popularity year after year with consumers, and we are seeing more menu demands and successful promotions. We are going to provide more guidance and usage ideas for our favorite summertime fruit.”

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

It’s going to be a star-spangled summer for retailers, consumers

This will be a special summer as retailers and consumers alike celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner and the nation’s heritage and culture. “We will stitch together a colorful patchwork of summertime Americana that includes picnics, parades and patriotic motifs,” said Stephanie Barlow, director of public relations and social media for the National Watermelon Promotion Board. “We’ll tap into the emotions of the present day American psyche: a deep desire to return to our roots and enjoy the sweeter things — from a cherished anthem to a juicy slice of old-fashioned watermelon.”PromotionsOVAs part of its Star Spangled Banner summertime celebration, the National Watermelon Promotion Board and National Watermelon Association will co-sponsor a retail display contest featuring watermelon. (Photo courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board)

The promotion will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the time frame tolling the unofficial beginning and end of summer. At the retail level, fruit will be stickered with a special QR code taking consumers to a dedicated splash page at www.watermelon.org/starspangledwatermelon. “There will be a sweepstakes, a Facebook promotion and weekly giveaways,” said Barlow.

The summertime celebration will also include a retail display contest the board is co-promoting with the National Watermelon Association. “Displays can vary by size, location and be inside or outside stores,” Barlow told The Produce News. “Retail managers can do whatever they want.”

The displays must be set up during the time period July 1-31, and Barlow expects competition will be heated. “We’ve seen huge creativity skills,” she said of previous years’ displays.

Winners will be announced in the fall. Cash prizes will be awarded, and the grand prize winner will be awarded a trip to the national convention.

During July, Barlow said a watermelon carving contest will also be held.

The promotion board plans to hone in on hydration during the summer and let consumers know why watermelon is the perfect and healthy response to thirst. “Watermelon is going to take aim at the hydration focus, since quite obviously you can’t spell watermelon without water,” she stated. “At 92 percent water, watermelon boasts a refreshingly high water content, and it is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making it a natural power drink. From daily adequate intake to replenishing the body post-workout, Americans’ hydration needs call for more water(melon). Survey findings will bring hydration issues to the forefront of consumer attitudes and perceptions, and combined with Michelle Obama’s ‘Drink Up’ campaign, we will position watermelon as a sweet and satisfying solution for everyday hydration needs.”

The board is also revamping and digitizing its Watermelon 101 Foodservice Toolkit, which is promoted at restaurants, culinary schools and other foodservice operations during watermelon’s peak season. “The kit will cover tips on selection, storage and handling, yield information and — of course — have plenty of foodservice-sized recipes,” Barlow said. “Watermelon as an ingredient has been gaining popularity year after year with consumers, and we are seeing more menu demands and successful promotions. We are going to provide more guidance and usage ideas for our favorite summertime fruit.”

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

FSIS is ‘Super-Sizing’ Ground Beef Pathogen Testing This Summer

(This May 16, 2014, blog post by Brian Ronholm, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is reposted here with permission.)

As grilling season heats up, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is enhancing our food safety testing program for ground beef. While FSIS has a range of safeguards to reduce E. coli in ground beef, this summer we will begin new testing to improve the safeguards against Salmonella as well. Salmonella is commonly found in ground beef and, in fact, caused an illness outbreak in January 2013 in six states. Salmonella is an especially difficult bacteria for food safety experts to address because it is so prevalent in almost all food sources.

Recognizing that we need more information about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef to better prevent foodborne illness, FSIS is “super-sizing” our pathogen testing program to include Salmonella every time our laboratories test for E. coli in samples of ground beef and ground beef sources. Because the samples taken for E. coli testing are much larger than those we have taken in the past for Salmonella, there is higher likelihood that we will be able to detect the bacteria if it is present.

Once FSIS has collected enough data about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef, we will create a new standard to encourage ground beef processors to strengthen their Salmonella controls, resulting in safer products and fewer foodborne illnesses. The data collection process will take some time, but it is critical that the new standard is supported by meaningful data. Of course, we will continue to analyze any positive samples for multi-drug resistance and specific serotypes to determine whether they are contributing to human illnesses.

Salmonella is the most urgent issue facing FSIS when it comes to protecting consumers and it is why we developed our Salmonella Action Plan. This plan details our strategy for reducing the number of Salmonella-related illnesses, and this enhancement to our sampling and testing programs is part of that comprehensive effort. Another part of our war on Salmonella is encouraging consumers to take steps to protect themselves from illnesses, including cooking all ground beef to 160 degrees F (poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F). For more information on ways to keep your family Salmonella-free this summer, we invite you to check out FoodSafety.gov or AskKaren.gov before your next cookout.

Food Safety News