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More than 600 sick in 45 states because of poultry pets

Salmonella traced to backyard flocks and pet chicks and ducklings continues to claim victims, with public health officials now tracking eight outbreaks across 45 states.

chick-nuzzler-406Since the outbreaks were reported on June 2, there have been 287 confirmed cases added, bringing the total to 611 people sickened, according to an update this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least 138 outbreak victims had to be hospitalized, according to information available on 496 of the outbreak victims. The illnesses began Jan. 4 and are ongoing. People who became ill after June 16 may not yet be reflected in the outbreak statistics because of the lag time between onset of symptoms and data being reported to federal officials.

“These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection,” according to the CDC.

In interviews, 434 of 493 ill people told health officials they had been in contact with live poultry, including chicks, chickens, ducks and ducklings, during the week before they became sick.

Victims reported buying live baby poultry from several suppliers, including feed supply stores, Internet sites, hatcheries and friends in multiple states. Some of the places ill people reported contact with live poultry include their home, someone else’s home, work or school settings.

“Epidemiologic, traceback and laboratory findings have linked the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings sourced from multiple hatcheries,” CDC reported.

“Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.”

To help prevent the spread of Salmonella bacteria, the CDC advises consumers to:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam;
  • Do not let live poultry inside the house; and
  • Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other live poultry without adult supervision.

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Food Safety News

“Spanish citrus sales more difficult than last year”

Gert Bouman, Frutaria:
“Spanish citrus sales more difficult than last year”

Demand for Spanish citrus is currently lagging far behind. That’s what Gert Bouman of Spanish private producer Frutaria says. He points to the recession in Europe as an explanation for the difficult sales – “even worse than last season” – because of which, quite simply, less fruit is sold. “But export to markets outside Europe is also difficult.”


“Of course we see nothing is being sold to Russia. Large volumes weren’t going there anyway, but the produce still has to be sold in other countries. Countries like Poland are also lagging behind this year. The mood is just very lacklustre,” Gert says.  ”We are very busy, but it’s all at very low prices. At the moment, we are fully focusing on retail, because there is little demand on the markets, and you only get low prices. But you’re also seeing promotions on 2 kilos for 99 cents in supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany. You have to wonder whether that’s good for the industry. The consumer thinks this is the price for an orange, undervaluing the product.”


“The production runs in the south of Spain are good. We ended the Clementine season, and stopped with good quality Navelinas. Now we’re getting the Clemenvilla season started, and we’ve begun with the Salustianas,” Gert says. He thinks a further reorganization of the Spanish citrus sector is unavoidable. The past five years, many cooperatives and private companies have disappeared, a trend which will only continue. With prices like that, there’s no future in the sector, and nobody is enthusiastic about investing in citrus productions, quite the contrary.”


For more information:
Gert Bouman
Frutaria
T: (+34) 661 252 509
M: (+34) 661 252 509
[email protected]
www.frutaria.com

Publication date: 12/17/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Overseas branch about more than just money

Overseas branch about more than just money

For several years now, the Dutch export business has witnessed a growing share of emerging economies. In 2012, a survey showed that the most important new markets for Dutch exporters were outside the EU. Especially the BRICS countries scored well. Several Dutch and Belgian produce companies now have an office in one of the emerging economies. But what is the added value of a subsidiary in these countries? Corné van de Klundert of Origin Fruit Direct and Kerim Taner of Univeg Group talk about their ventures in China and Brazil respectively.


Officebuilding in the Chinese city Shanghai.

The Origin Group was founded in 2006 to market the products of a large South African grower in Europe. In addition to an office in Europe, Origin Fruit has offices in Chile and China. “We are part of a South African parent company,” says Corné. “South Africa already exported to Asia, but in 2007 the parent company decided to open an office in China.” A year later, the office was duly opened. From the office in Shanghai, mainly citrus and grapes are imported, but also lower volumes of top fruit and avocados for the Asian market. “We focus mainly on imports from South Africa, but in recent years we have more import from North and South America.”

Brazilian adventure
Univeg, head quartered in Belgium, has a large network of offices worldwide. Since 2002, the company has operated a subsidiary in Brazil that focuses on the export of limes and cloves: Univeg Katope Brazil. Last year, the Belgian company opened a second office in Brazil. Univeg Trade Brazil focuses on the import of fruit and vegetables through the worldwide network of Univeg offices. Univeg Trade Brazil is located in São Paulo, Brazil UNIVEG Katopé operates from the more northern city of Salvador. Additionally, Univeg has a grape plantation in the South American country. The harvest of this plantation is sold on both domestic and foreign markets.

The Salvador office has only five employees. The branch produces about $ 20 million annually, mainly from export to Europe. Univeg Trade Brazil in São Paulo is run by one person, sporting annual sales of roughly $ 8.5 million, chiefly extracted from the domestic market. Univeg Trade Brazil focuses on Brazilian retailers, particularly in the north east and north of the country.

Chinese resemble Europeans

Often-heard complaints about overseas markets, such as different work ethics and the time it takes to build relationships with Chinese traders, didn’t cause any major problems for Origin Fruit. “Of course, Chinese people have different habits,” says Corné, “but we had already done business in China for several years already, so we were familiar with local customs. In general, I am positively surprised by the way of working in China. They work much smoother, and are more professional than we often give them credit for in the West.” Corné points out that building a good relationship with customers in Europe also takes a lot of time. In that respect there is little difference between Europeans and Chinese.

Brazil: a lot of potential in retail
“We firmly believe in the potential of the Brazilian market, and the increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables,” says Kerim Taner. “In addition, the country has a unique climate and there is plenty of land available to grow quality products. We want to strengthen our position in Brazil as a grower, packer, exporter and importer by building lasting relationships with Brazilian retailers.”

The (originally Belgian) company mainly sees opportunities in the growing retail sector in the South American country. “Univeg’s range of products from South America and Europe and the global network result in a well-integrated product flow to Brazil.”

So in addition to financial results, having a subsidiary indirectly yields many immaterial benefits. “I think we have better access to customers in the Chinese market, we can better respond to developments in the market and we have a better understanding of price movements, allowing us to respond quickly,” says Corné. That is not to say that China always produces successfully. The Asian market, like any other market, is prone to fluctuations. The South African citrus season, to name just one of many recent issues, proved difficult in China. Other problems, like Black Spot on the European market and turmoil in Russia, put the citrus market under pressure. “As a result, China was seen as a good alternative, which in turn put pressure on prices.”

More information:
Origin Fruit Direct

Corné van de Klundert
E: [email protected]
W: www.originfruitdirect.nl

Univeg
Kerim Taner
E: [email protected]
W: www.univeg.com

Publication date: 12/2/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields

In Wisconsin, bioenergy is for the birds. Really.

In a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scientists examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat.

The research team found that where there are grasslands, there are birds. Grass-and-wildflower-dominated fields supported more than three times as many bird species as cornfields, including 10 imperiled species found only in the grasslands. These grassland fields can also produce ample biomass for renewable fuels.

Monica Turner, UW-Madison professor of zoology, and study lead author Peter Blank, a postdoctoral researcher in her lab, hope the findings help drive decisions that benefit both birds and biofuels, too, by providing information for land managers, farmers, conservationists and policy makers as the bioenergy industry ramps up, particularly in Wisconsin and the central U.S.

“As bioenergy production demand increases, we should pay attention to the ecological consequences,” says Turner.

This is especially true for grassland birds, as populations of species like the eastern meadowlark, dickcissel and the bobolink have declined in recent decades.

The study began when UW-Madison’s Carol Williams, coordinator of the Wisconsin Grasslands Bioenergy Network, and the DNR’s David Sample approached Turner and asked for her help. They wanted to know: “What are the implications of the decisions we make about how we use our lands?” says Turner.

The research team carefully selected 30 different grassland sites — three of which are already used for small-scale bioenergy production — and 11 cornfields in southern Wisconsin. Over the course of two years, the researchers characterized the vegetation growing in each field, calculated and estimated the biomass yields possible, and counted the total numbers of birds and bird species observed in them.

According to Blank and Turner, the study is one of the first to examine grassland fields already producing biomass for biofuels and is one of only a few analyses to examine the impact of bioenergy production on birds.

While previous studies suggest corn is a more profitable biofuel crop than grasses and other types of vegetation, the new findings indicate grassland fields may represent an acceptable tradeoff between creating biomass for bioenergy and providing habitat for grassland birds. The landscape could benefit other species, too.

Because they are perennial, the grassland fields can also be used year after year, following best management practices that preserve the health of the soil and provide reliable habitat for migratory birds.

“Plant diversity is good for wildlife diversity,” says Blank. “Our study suggests diverse bioenergy crop fields could benefit birds more so than less diverse fields.”

Among the grasslands studied, the team found monoculture grasses supported fewer birds and fewer bird species than grasslands with a mix of grass types and other kinds of vegetation, like wildflowers.

… new findings indicate grassland fields may represent an acceptable tradeoff between creating biomass for bioenergy and providing habitat for grassland birds.

The team found that the presence of grasslands within one kilometer of the study sites also helped boost bird species diversity and bird density in the area.

This is an opportunity, Turner says, to inform large-scale land use planning. By locating biomass-producing fields near existing grasslands, both birds and the biofuels industry can win.

Incentives for a conservation-minded approach could be used to help offset potential differences in profit, the researchers suggest. They also add that the biomass yields calculated in the study may represent the low end of what is possible, given that one of the two study years, 2012, occurred during a significant drought period in the state.

“The study shows species generally really benefit from the practice,” says Blank. “We really can produce bioenergy and provide habitat for rare birds in the state.”

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

More Than 100 People Sickened by Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis in New Zealand

More than 100 people across New Zealand are sick from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, and at least 35 people have been hospitalized.

Most cases have been in the Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington areas.

Outbreaks of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which are not common, have previously been associated with the consumption of contaminated food, especially raw or undercooked pork products, and sometimes fresh produce.

Toi Te Ora — the public health unit for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards — suspects that pre-packaged carrots and lettuce are to blame, but health officials have not yet confirmed the source of the outbreak.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infection with Y. enterocolitica occurs most often in young children. Common symptoms in children are fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Symptoms typically develop four to seven days after exposure and may last one to three weeks or longer.

In older children and adults, right-side abdominal pain and fever may be the main symptoms and may be confused with appendicitis. In a small proportion of cases, complications such as skin rash, joint pains, or spread of bacteria to the bloodstream can occur.

Health officials are reminding people to take extra care with personal hygiene when preparing and consuming food and to thoroughly wash any raw fruits and vegetables before eating them.

Food Safety News

“More than anything else in the fruit business, the key is the orchard”

Interview with Marc Peyres, of Blue Whale
“More than anything else in the fruit business, the key is the orchard”

Last year’s apple season for the French exporter Blue Whale, which accounts for around 22% of the country’s fresh apple export, started really well, with very good prices between summer and Christmas for many varieties. In the second half, however, the market came under pressure and some prices dropped, although on average it was a good campaign.


Marc Peyres from Blue Whale

Click here for the photo report

Marc Peyres affirms that “this season, however, with a better crop in terms of both quality and size, will not be as good, mainly for two reasons: firstly, because last season finished with a bad trend, and secondly, because of this year’s poor balance between supply and demand. We hope it will improve for the second half.”

Blue Whale focuses on the three apple varieties that yield the best results in the area and which, according to Marc cannot reach the same quality in other places of Europe: Gala, with 64,000 tonnes; Pink Lady (the most profitable in the area for the past five years), with 42,000 tonnes, and Granny Smith, with 34,000 tonnes.


Chantecler

Click here for the photo report

“We also produce Chantecler, which has a nice niche market in France, and our Fuji premium is very successful in Spain and France. Additionally, we have some other smaller and newer varieties, like Canada Gris or Joya.”

In recent seasons, there has been a dropping trend in the volumes of Southern Hemisphere apples imported to Europe. Marc Peyres says that “this is due to rising costs, which is reducing their competitiveness. Europe is also one of the few areas where imports have been massive and this is changing.”

Regarding the Russian ban and the Polish oversupply, Marc Peyres says that “the question is whether the Polish produce is suitable for Western consumers. They produce perhaps a good Elstar or Jonagored, but not a good Gala or Golden. There is a market for price and another for quality, and although we cannot compete on the former, we can on the latter.”


Coldstore

Click here for the photo report

Marc Peyres  says that Blue Whale exported just 10,000 tonnes of apples directly to Russia, last season, so for them, in this respect, it is not such a big deal. “It is certainly not as big a problem as that of peach and nectarine producers, who of course don’t have as long to adapt. But it will be really worrying for some varieties, if the ban continues after Janurary.”

Many sources also state that China’s production this year will drop by 10 to 20%, so there is no pressure on that front. “Additionally, India’s harvest this year is also not so high, so maybe they will start importing in December instead of March,” explains Marc.

He believes that the biggest problem for the Southern Hemisphere next season will be finding markets for their fruit, as “Europe will be full, and although there will be a bigger market in China or India, their conditions are not as easy as Europe’s.”

“Additionally, when you look at the volume Russia imports, you see that they purchase mostly cheap fruit, and they will not replace cheap Polish apples with expensive South American produce.”


Big boxes for far destinations

Click here for the photo report

Blue Whale currently exports to 50 countries outside Europe. “We prefer 10 small markets rather than just one large, because it gives you more options to ship your fruit depending on its characteristics. Last season, for example, we managed to ship our small fruit to Southeast Asia,” explains Marc. “Although selling outside Europe is always riskier.”

In terms of cultivation, Blue Whale has partnerships with growers in South America to be able to supply the Middle East and Asia during the off-season, packing in Chile and Brazil. Marc states that “more than anything else in fruit, the key is the orchard, and growers in that area are very competitive. With a good orchard and good growers you can accomplish a lot.”

When it comes to long-term expectations, he believes that Blue Whale will continue increasing its production volumes, but also remain involved in projects to renew its varieties, as “in the fruit business, you can sell cheap and survive for 10 years, but if you don’t renew, you have no future.”

For more information:
Marc Peyres
Blue Whale
Tel +33 563 215 656
Email: [email protected]
www.blue-whale.com

Publication date: 9/22/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Meijer planning to hire more than 10,000 team members

Midwestern retailer Meijer is preparing to hire thousands of new team members for its stores as the growing company prepares for the fall and holiday selling seasons, announced Janet Emerson, executive vice president of operations for the Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer.

“Meijer is always looking for good people,” Emerson said in a press release. “Our continued growth provides a great opportunity to find new team members who will help deliver on the Meijer promise of providing exceptional customer service.”

Meijer stores are open 24 hours and only close on Christmas Day. While staffing needs vary from store to store, positions are available at all Meijer stores. The retailer is planning to hire more than 10,000 new team members throughout the Midwest: 4,800 in Michigan; 1,800 in Indiana; 1,700 in Ohio; 1,500 in Illinois; and 1,000 in Kentucky.

“While most of these opportunities are part-time and seasonal, these jobs can provide a gateway to a full-time career at Meijer,” Michael Rotelle, senior vice president of human resources, said in the release. “As we continue to grow, we are frequently looking to fill our ongoing part-time and full-time needs. These positions provide an opportunity for people to begin a retail career within a growing company.”

While traditional retail positions such as stockers and cashiers are needed, there are also opportunities in more specialized roles. Many Meijer team members have begun in entry-level roles and grown into full-time and leadership positions.

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

Northwest pear growers forecast larger crop than originally expected

With harvest currently underway, representatives of the Northwest pear industry have officially updated their initial projections for the 2014 fresh pear crop yield.

Reports of a crop of excellent quality have been confirmed from all corners of the pear-growing regions in Washington and Oregon, and the updated projection is showing a crop larger than previously forecast in the spring.

The revised estimate points to more than 20.2 million standard 44-pound box equivalents (or 445,144 tons) of pears for the fresh market. This estimate is 2 percent larger than the five-year average, and 6 percent smaller than last year’s record crop. The Northwest pear industry’s initial spring projection showed a crop of 18.7 million boxes.

Harvest began in late July with the Starkrimson and Bartlett pear varieties. Anjou, Red Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle and Seckel will be picked from late August through mid-October. No significant weather issues have affected the crop to date.

The top three varieties in terms of production remain the same as in previous years: Green Anjou pears are anticipated to make up 53 percent of the total 2014 crop, while Bartlett and Bosc pears are expected to yield 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

The updated estimates for the organic portion of the Northwest pear crop have increased proportionally, showing a total of 976,780 standard 44-pound box equivalents (21,489 tons) of organic pears in the 2014 harvest. This is an increase of about 3 percent when compared to the 2013 record organic crop, and a 16.6 percent increase over the five-year average.

“Compared to last year’s record crop, this crop is more consistent with the five-year average,” Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of the Pear Bureau Northwest, said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to another crop of excellent quality and fruit size to meet the demands of the domestic and export markets. Our representatives across North America and around the world have a full season of promotions in place to help boost sales, and we’re looking forward to working with our retail partners in another successful pear season.”

 

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

Cronobacter Infections May Be More Common Than Previously Thought

Infections from a lesser-known foodborne pathogen most commonly associated with infants may be more common in elderly populations — and even adults and adolescents — than previously thought, according to a new study by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, set to be published in the September issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, was intended to define the impact of Cronobacter on various demographics in the U.S. using data collected by FoodNet, the CDC’s foodborne illness surveillance network in 10 states. It was the first study to look at rates of Cronobacter infections in groups other than infants, said Dr. Anna Bowen, CDC epidemiologist and one of the study’s authors.

In the U.S., Cronobacter has been most commonly connected to outbreaks involving powdered infant formula, though the bacteria has also been found in powdered milk, teas and starches. In infants younger than one year old, infections can enter the bloodstream or cause meningitis, swelling of the brain and spine. In adults, symptoms can manifest as infections in the blood or urinary tract.

The study found that about 3.9 out of 100,000 people older than 65 were infected with the bacteria. That’s more than twice the number of infants infected, at 1.8 in 100,000.

“We were really surprised to find such a high rate of infection among the elderly,” Bowen said.

Out of 540 laboratory isolates between 2003 and 2009 included in the study, the vast majority were found in either infants or the elderly, she added.

Much of the attention related to Cronobacter may center on infants because they suffer from the most severe infections, said Mary Patrick, CDC epidemiologist and the main author of the study. Symptoms are milder in adults, while the bacteria can kill up to 40 percent of infants who suffer from meningitis due to their infections.

For parents who want to minimize their child’s exposure to Cronobacter, CDC recommends breastfeeding whenever possible. Experts also recommend liquid infant formula over powdered, as the liquid variety has been pasteurized, Patrick said.

When the only option is powdered formula, CDC recommends preparing it with water heated to at least 158 degrees F (70 degrees C) to eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria.

Where are all these Cronobacter infections in adults coming from? Answering that question is next on the research agenda, according to Patrick.

“These Cronobacter infections obviously come from someplace,” she said. “I like to think of this study as the first step in figuring that out.”

Food Safety News

Less than 1% of Australia’s fresh produce goes to Russia

What’s in it for New Zealand?
Less than 1% of Australia’s fresh produce goes to Russia

In last 12 months Australia has exported various fruits to Russia. However in overall context this is less than 1 per cent of Australia’s export volume & value of fresh produce. The value of exports is A$ 12 million.

Australian exports to Russia:

Product
Tonnes
Table Grapes
1,256
Mandarins
1,010
Oranges
301
Mangoes
147
Nectarines
98
Cherries
66
Almond
396


“Our export volumes to Russia are quite small although they have been growing off a small base and making some good gains in counter seasonal supplies,” said Wayne Prowse from Fresh Intelligence Consulting. “The main lines are table grapes, citrus, mangoes, cherries and nectarines. We also exported a much larger volume of Almonds last season compared to previous years.”

New Zealand
Another product from New Zealand, onions, has not been exported directly to Russia in the last 15 seasons approximately, there was a couple of attempts prior to this. Martin Tribe from NZ Growers said that NZ can’t compete on the Russian market with onions. 

Publication date: 8/12/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Produce industry donates more than 17,000 pounds to Monterey County food bank

This past weekend, the fresh produce industry showed its commitment to alleviating childhood obesity through healthy food choices with a 17,141-pound fresh produce donation to the Food Bank of Monterey County after the annual PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo.

One-fifth of the population of Monterey County now receives food assistance — 90,000 residents annually, up from 55,300 in 2005, according to reports produced by the food bank.Untitled-1Following the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo, the fresh produce industry donated 17,141-pounds of fresh produce to the Food Bank of Monterey County.

“Here in Monterey County, over 20 percent of the population struggles with hunger, including 1 in 4 children,” Melissa Kendrick, executive director of the Food Bank for Monterey County, said in a press release. “As the ‘Salad bowl of America,’ we could not accomplish what we do without the generous support of the ag community in our fight against hunger.”

The show’s exhibitors have been donating fresh produce to the county as a result of the show for more than 15 years.

“The produce industry is in a unique position to give back,” Barbara Keckler, marketing manager for Potandon Produce and PMA Exhibitor Advisory Committee member, said in the release. “The exhibitors who came together to donate fresh, healthy product to those in need did a good thing this weekend, and I’m proud to know it’ll make a difference in Monterey County.”

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

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

For the Israeli company Avniv Israel, the fig campaign is divided in two stages, with the first starting in May and going on with a continuous harvest at several locations until August, “when we normally stop due to the start of the Turkish season and also because we cannot compete with the domestic production in destinations like Italy, Spain or France,” explains Niva Ben Zion, founder and CEO of the firm.

After the Turkish season is over, around October, Avniv Israel kicks off the autumn-winter campaign, with a variety that is harvested between October and January, depending on weather conditions. “The last winter campaign was a bit of a disaster, as Israel had a lot of rain in December, as well as some snow and hail. This year, so far, we have had a very nice season with high levels of demand, despite some small temporary difficulties with supply that drove prices down,” says Mrs Ben Zion.

In terms of volumes, the company this season has exported around 20% more than last year, while Israel’s shipments as a whole have remained stable. Demand has also been higher than anticipated. Niva Ben Zion explains that “I work with some pretty big growers, and I will only take more when I know I have programmes to support them with. This year I literally needed much more than I had due to the great levels of demand.”

Avniv Israel also offers pitahaya, whose season normally starts around July-August. According to Mrs Ben Zion, “pitahaya is a tricky business, as it is very unpredictable when it comes to the timespan between pollination and harvest. Supply volumes are also unstable, because they work in cycles (or waves). The season is like a rocking chair. This year there may be additional issues, as the war is taking place close to the main production areas.”

Regarding the next fig season, the company expects a very good campaign throughout the winter, “as in that period we will have a large production and very few competitors. Brazil will also be in the market, although supermarkets & some importers tend to prefer the Israeli produce, which is usually considered to be safer, as our figs are produced naturally and contain no residues,” concludes Niva Ben Zion.

For more information:
Niva Ben Zion
Avniv
Tel: +972-2-9941047
Fax:+972-2-9941374
Mobile: +972-52-4399800
Sales: [email protected]

Publication date: 7/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

For the Israeli company Avniv Israel, the fig campaign is divided in two stages, with the first starting in May and going on with a continuous harvest at several locations until August, “when we normally stop due to the start of the Turkish season and also because we cannot compete with the domestic production in destinations like Italy, Spain or France,” explains Niva Ben Zion, founder and CEO of the firm.

After the Turkish season is over, around October, Avniv Israel kicks off the autumn-winter campaign, with a variety that is harvested between October and January, depending on weather conditions. “The last winter campaign was a bit of a disaster, as Israel had a lot of rain in December, as well as some snow and hail. This year, so far, we have had a very nice season with high levels of demand, despite some small temporary difficulties with supply that drove prices down,” says Mrs Ben Zion.

In terms of volumes, the company this season has exported around 20% more than last year, while Israel’s shipments as a whole have remained stable. Demand has also been higher than anticipated. Niva Ben Zion explains that “I work with some pretty big growers, and I will only take more when I know I have programmes to support them with. This year I literally needed much more than I had due to the great levels of demand.”

Avniv Israel also offers pitahaya, whose season normally starts around July-August. According to Mrs Ben Zion, “pitahaya is a tricky business, as it is very unpredictable when it comes to the timespan between pollination and harvest. Supply volumes are also unstable, because they work in cycles (or waves). The season is like a rocking chair. This year there may be additional issues, as the war is taking place close to the main production areas.”

Regarding the next fig season, the company expects a very good campaign throughout the winter, “as in that period we will have a large production and very few competitors. Brazil will also be in the market, although supermarkets & some importers tend to prefer the Israeli produce, which is usually considered to be safer, as our figs are produced naturally and contain no residues,” concludes Niva Ben Zion.

For more information:
Niva Ben Zion
Avniv
Tel: +972-2-9941047
Fax:+972-2-9941374
Mobile: +972-52-4399800
Sales: [email protected]

Publication date: 7/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

Israel: Fig demand this year higher than anticipated

For the Israeli company Avniv Israel, the fig campaign is divided in two stages, with the first starting in May and going on with a continuous harvest at several locations until August, “when we normally stop due to the start of the Turkish season and also because we cannot compete with the domestic production in destinations like Italy, Spain or France,” explains Niva Ben Zion, founder and CEO of the firm.

After the Turkish season is over, around October, Avniv Israel kicks off the autumn-winter campaign, with a variety that is harvested between October and January, depending on weather conditions. “The last winter campaign was a bit of a disaster, as Israel had a lot of rain in December, as well as some snow and hail. This year, so far, we have had a very nice season with high levels of demand, despite some small temporary difficulties with supply that drove prices down,” says Mrs Ben Zion.

In terms of volumes, the company this season has exported around 20% more than last year, while Israel’s shipments as a whole have remained stable. Demand has also been higher than anticipated. Niva Ben Zion explains that “I work with some pretty big growers, and I will only take more when I know I have programmes to support them with. This year I literally needed much more than I had due to the great levels of demand.”

Avniv Israel also offers pitahaya, whose season normally starts around July-August. According to Mrs Ben Zion, “pitahaya is a tricky business, as it is very unpredictable when it comes to the timespan between pollination and harvest. Supply volumes are also unstable, because they work in cycles (or waves). The season is like a rocking chair. This year there may be additional issues, as the war is taking place close to the main production areas.”

Regarding the next fig season, the company expects a very good campaign throughout the winter, “as in that period we will have a large production and very few competitors. Brazil will also be in the market, although supermarkets & some importers tend to prefer the Israeli produce, which is usually considered to be safer, as our figs are produced naturally and contain no residues,” concludes Niva Ben Zion.

For more information:
Niva Ben Zion
Avniv
Tel: +972-2-9941047
Fax:+972-2-9941374
Mobile: +972-52-4399800
Sales: [email protected]

Publication date: 7/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Cyclospora Outbreak Reaches 202 Cases; More Than Half are in Texas

Just like last summer, illnesses involving prolonged watery diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis are spreading across the country from Texas. Public health officials suspect the parasite is riding into the United States on contaminated fresh produce grown in Mexico for the U.S. market. They just don’t yet know the exact source, where it’s grown, and how it’s being distributed here.

During the past week, the outbreak has expanded by several states, with the number of confirmed cases growing to 202, up from the 61 illnesses reported nationally as recently as July 23.  With 110 illnesses, the Lone Star State accounts for more than half of the nation’s current cases, with illnesses being reported in 29 of the 254 counties in Texas.

“Though a source has yet to be identified, past outbreaks have been traced to fresh imported produce,” the Texas Department of State Health Services said. “DSHS encourages people to wash produce thoroughly, though that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off.”

Last summer, a June-peaking national outbreak of Cyclosporiasis ultimately saw 631 people sickened in 25 states. Last year’s Cyclospora outbreak caused some confusion and contention among the state’s investigating it. Iowa and Nebraska thought the infections were caused by bagged mixed salads served by restaurants, while Texas officials named fresh cilantro grown in Puebla, Mexico.

This year, interviews conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have attributed about 25 illnesses to foreign travel. Before last summer, Cyclospora outbreaks from food or water sources in the U.S. have been sporadic since imported raspberries arrived here two decades ago.

Carried by food or water contaminated by feces, the illness is cause by a parasite that’s common in tropical or subtropical counties. The onset of illness typically occurs within two to 14 days after the oocytes are consumed. It results in profuse diarrhea that can last for a couple weeks to several months. Other symptoms are a low-grade fever, nausea and vomiting, bloating and gas, anorexia and fatigue.

Food Safety News

Socio-economic change more of a problem for nomads than climate change

Socio-economic change could have a much bigger impact than climate change on grazing lands in the world’s arid regions. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Cologne, who simulated ecological and social factors in a computer model. The negative effects of climate change can to a certain extent be offset by an increased herd mobility, write the researchers in a recent issue of the journal Global Environmental Change. However, higher income demands and less available grazing land make it increasingly difficult for nomads to move their herds around to secure their livelihoods.

Arid and semi-arid regions of the world account for around 40 per cent of earth’s land surface. The main source of income in these regions is livestock farming, which supports over a billion people. Since rainfall in these regions is low and irregular, many nomadic peoples have adapted their way of life and move their herds to wherever the vegetation offers the best grazing at the time. In doing so they also rest some parts of their grazing land, which is given a chance to recover — a positive ‘side-effect’ of mobility. Changing climate conditions, such as bigger rainfall fluctuations, could disrupt this sensitive system. For instance, some parts of north-west Africa are predicted to see a 10 to 20 per cent decrease in rainfall levels. The study therefore aimed to identify climate change limits, within which the livelihoods of households that depend on livestock could be maintained in the long term. The researchers also looked at socio-economic changes, combining a risk assessment with an environmental and economic model.

The evaluation showed that higher fluctuations in annual rainfall sums would have less of an impact on animal farming than a decrease in average levels of annual rainfall. Socio-economic changes, such as higher income requirements, raised the tolerance limits for rainfall fluctuations. “To a certain extent, mobility enables nomads to continue their pastoral farming practices in less productive systems, thereby offsetting negative effects of climate change,” reports Dr Romina Martin of the UFZ, who is now conducting research at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. However, higher income requirements and less access to grazing land make it increasingly difficult to maintain this mobility.

“Although our model focuses on nomadic grazing systems and only considers the most important drivers, it reflects the consequences of the dramatic change in land use patterns in arid regions,” says Prof. Karin Frank of the UFZ. “However, our approach is not restricted to studying grazing systems. It can be used anywhere where the dynamics of ecosystem services are closely linked to people’s livelihoods.”

“Our results emphasize the fact that the form of pastoralism practised by nomadic herdsmen enables sustainable use of sensitive ecosystems and that the ecosystems are resilient enough, when used in this way, to adapt to changes in rainfall and therefore to climate change,” says Dr Anja Linstädter of the University of Cologne. Dr Birgit Müller of the UFZ adds: “So we should not simply dismiss nomadism as an outdated tradition.” In many arid regions this could be the only sustainable form of land use — unlike intensive crop farming, which enables higher yields in those regions, but over-uses the soil and water resources to such an extent that agriculture soon stops being viable. In the authors’ view, this also casts a different light on the discussion about what, to western eyes, appears to be unused land in many parts of Africa. In reality, this communal grazing land represents an important basis for subsistence for local populations.

The study incorporated research findings from field studies conducted in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and Oriental region, and in the highlands of Tibet, as part of two interdisciplinary projects. Under the umbrella of the IMPETUS project at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn, Germany, climatologists, hydrologists, geographers, rangeland ecologists and ethnologists spent 12 years investigating the consequences of climate and land use change on natural resources in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Their data on rainfall fluctuations and on the productivity and regenerative capacity of pasture vegetation formed the basis for the ecological part of the model. By contrast, the Collaborative Research Centre for Difference and Integration at the German Research Foundation (DFG) focused on investigating the lives of nomadic peoples in the “Old World dry belt.” Archaeologists, ethnologists, geographers, historians and orientalists at the Universities of Halle and Leipzig, Germany, collaborated with colleagues from other institutes on this project for more than ten years because nomadic and settled cultures have existed side-by-side between Morocco and Tibet for over 5000 years.

Some unconventional methods have since been used to disseminate the findings: within the DFG’s Collaborative Research Centre for Difference and Integration, UFZ scientists worked with the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) to develop a strategic game to explain the connections between land use, rainfall and livestock capital to a broad public. In the game, up to six players take on the role of a nomadic herdsman. The aim is to increase the herdsman’s capital in the form of sheep. Players have to take decisions that depend not only on the state of the grazing land, but also on the day-to-day challenges of life in the steppes. The NomadSed board game is suitable for ages ten and over and is now also being used for development education, e.g. by the “Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Germany” in Kenya.

The study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, project SFB 586 ”Difference and Integration”), the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, project IMPETUS) and the Helmholtz Association.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

French cherry production 31% higher than 2013

French cherry production 31% higher than 2013

Cherry production is clearly higher than in 2013, up 31% compared to 2013 on the 1st July and up 20% compared to the 5 year average.  End of commercialisation is difficult with average prices down 5% compared to the 2009-2013 averages in June.  

2014 production is expected to be higher than last year.  The Minister of Agriculure’s SSP (Service of Statistics and Forecasts)  estimates cherry production to be 31% higher than in 2013.  2012 and 2013 were the weakest of the last decade.


In the Rhone-Alpes, harvest of the late varieties is approaching with an important production this year.  Fruit was of small to average calibre this year due to over-charged trees.  At the end of the season lots of fruit will be left on the trees due to low sales.  Treatment against Suzukii flies continues. Flowering occurred under favourable climate conditions. 

In the PACA region acreage has diminished with producers turning to other productions, notably vines.  Stormy weather led to some loss, yet yield remains higher than in 2013.

Harvest is almost over in the Languedoc-Roussillon, lack of rain means that harvest was carried out without fruit being damaged.  Early varieties were of small size  Some operators held back on picking small calibers amongst the later varieties in order to commercialise bigger sizes.  Production was slightly better than last forecast. 

Trees were heavy with fruit at the start of the season in the Midi-Pyrénées. Harvest was back to normal following the last few weak production years. Climate conditions did not have a high impact on production.  

The market was difficult at the end of the season.  The 2014 sales campaign began in the Roussillon at the start of May.  At first the market was rather saturated, but a lack of Burlat production and rain affecting harvest meant that it cleared at the end of May.  Interregional competition and other seasonal fruits, mainly strawberries, were competition for the smaller calibers.  Prices over the month were on average close to the 2009-2013 average (-2%). Demand at the end of the month dropped due to competition from other stone fruit.  Harvest slowed down, the market is difficult and prices are 5% lower than the 2009-2013 average.


This cherry report was based on 4 regions:  

Midi-Pyrénées : 4% of national production in 2013.  

Languedoc-Roussillon :  13% of national production in 2013.

Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur :  44% of national production in 2013.  

Rhone-Alpes :  27% of national production in 2013.  

All of these regions represent 88% of national production in 2013.  


Publication date: 7/16/2014


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