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Pickets protest UNFI treatment of workers

Picket lines marched outside the annual meeting of United Natural Foods Inc. Wednesday to protest alleged mistreatment of workers who have opted to join the teamsters union at a distribution facility in Moreno Valley, Calif.

The protesters “put management on notice” that continued worker abuse and intimidation will not be tolerated, according to a press release issued by the teamsters, whose members participated in the protests.

Representatives of UNFI, based in Providence, R.I.,  could not be reached for comment. The annual meeting was held in Sacramento, Calif., the home city for Tony’s Fine Foods, a specialty foods distributor UNFI acquired in May.

According to the teamstrs, UNFI has “intimidated, threatened and fired workers” at the Moreno Valley facility for trying to join a union, even though the union was federally certified in November as the union for truck drivers at the warehouse.

Steve Vairma, teamsters warehouse division director, said in a statement “UNFI runs roughshod over its employees’ fundamental freedom of association and their protected concerted activity and bargaining rights.”


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Organizing director for Teamsters Local 63 in Covina, Calif., Randy Korgan, said in a statement, “It seems that whether 35% or 65% of a group of workers at a UNFI warehouse or truck yard join together as a union, UNFI management shows them zero respect and treats them all with the same level of contempt and denial and heavy-handed tactics.” 

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USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

USDA revokes preferred PACA treatment for Canadian shippers

Clearly as retaliation for inaction on the part of Canada with regarding to establishing some type of trust protection from bankruptcy for all fresh produce shipped into the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the specialized treatment Canadian shippers have received under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act for decades.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by The Produce News, Charles W. Parrott, deputy administrator of the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Program, informed Canadian officials that because the country does not have a “dispute resolution system comparable to the U.S. system,” as of that date Canadian shippers will now be treated like every other foreign shipper utilizing the PACA’s reparation services.

Though the action was taken with regard to PACA’s dispute resolution system, there is no doubt it was designed to express frustration over Canada’s inability to form a trust protection program similar to the one that exists in the United States.

In recent weeks several produce organizations on both sides of the board have warned Canadian officials that this action was imminent because of the failure to address the trust protection issue. In realty, with the Dispute Resolution Corp., Canada does have a system to handle disputes that is similar to what exists in the United States. What Canada does not have is a trust protection program that puts shippers of fresh produce in a priority position when their product become part of a bankruptcy proceedings.

Canadian officials have been working through a long list of issues of reciprocity with the United States for a couple of years now with one of those being the trust protection concern for fresh produce. Recently, Canadian officials took that issue off the table declaring that a change in the country’s fresh produce licensing addressed the problem.

Reaction disputing this from both sides of the border was swift.

Industry leaders from Western Growers, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, the Northwest Horticultural Council and the Texas International Produce Association expressed frustration at a lack of progress toward reciprocity with a joint press release earlier this week.

“The inability of the Canadian government to resolve such a longstanding issue — one it committed to resolving — is a missed opportunity and extremely discouraging to U.S. exporters,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “We need leadership from Canada to find a path forward to a solution. Producers in both countries depend on it.”

Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers Association, emphasized the importance of a payment priority program for U.S. shippers. “Protections afforded under PACA may seem less than sexy and may appear insignificant — until you don’t get paid. Then they become one of the most valuable protections afforded to a family farmer.”

A little more than a week ago, the Canada-based Fresh Produce Alliance warned this action would occur if Canada didn’t address the trust protection issues.

“According to data collected by the Fresh Produce Alliance, American suppliers are losing at minimum $ 10 million annually through Canadian buyer insolvency,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of Canadian Horticultural Council, which along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., makes up the Fresh Produce Alliance. “This is, coincidentally, about the same amount that Canadian suppliers are recovering each year through the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust. Hundreds more Canadian suppliers depend on the security PACA offers for ease of mind in their trade relationships.”

On both sides of the border, the USDA’s action on PACA claims is considered a direct response to the trust fund inaction.

McInerney of Western Growers explained that under PACA rules, Canadian shippers have been treated just as U.S. licensees for decades. That has allowed Canadian shippers to pursue a formal complaint without posting a bond worth twice the amount of the damage they are claiming.

Under this new protocol outlined by Parrott of the USDA, disputes originated by a Canadian shipper moving to a formal hearing stage will need to be accompanied by the bond, just as disputes are treated by shippers from any other country.

In his letter to Susie Miller, director general of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Parrott said that in the future if Canada does implement a dispute resolution system similar to the PACA, the need for a bond would be revisited.

The Fresh Produce Alliance was quick to react, aiming its displeasure at Canadian officials rather than the U.S. action.

“Without PACA access, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills will have to post double the value of what they are trying to recover as bond to make a claim,” stated Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. “For example, a small producer owed $ 50,000 would have to post $ 100,000 cash to make a claim, effectively removing $ 150,000 from their cash flow/operating line for up to one year. Many cannot afford this [and] will simply have to walk away, losing what is rightfully owed to them.”

Situations like this can devastate not only the producer, but also all the businesses connected to them and hits rural communities particularly hard, according to the Fresh Produce Alliance.

“The Fresh Produce Alliance has repeatedly briefed and met with various ministers and [members of Parliament] to raise the importance of the issue,” added Fowlie, “yet the government has not taken necessary mitigating action, despite warnings that the removal of PACA access was imminent without confirmation of a Canadian solution.”

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

QUAFETY EU project: The effect of hot water treatment on fresh-cut produce has been shown

QUAFETY EU project: The effect of hot water treatment on fresh-cut produce has been shown

The 3rd International Conference on “Effect of Pre- and Post-harvest Factors on Health Promoting Components and Quality of Horticultural Commodities” took place in Skierniewice, Poland, March 23-25, 2014.

The Organising Committee of Conference is very greatfull to prof. Giancarlo Colelli and other participants of QUAFETY project for the active attendance on this scientific event. The conference was organized by Research Institute of Horticulture in cooperation with Storage Section of the Committee of Horticultural Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences and EUFRIN – Fruit Quality Working Group, under the auspices of Polish Academy and Sciences and Polish Society for Horticultural Sciences.

More than 110 participants attended the conference from 17 countries.

Within the eight sessions, 28 oral and 60 poster presentations were delivered.
The newest results connected with most of aspects of pre and post-harvest factors influencing storage durability as well as contents of pro-healthy components were shown. The innovative storage technology was presented in practice in ROJA (Group of Fruit Producers) in Regnów. The apple cold store is equipped with apparatus for Initial Low Oxygen Stress I.L.O.S –Plus.

Within the conference, the QUAFETY session was opened by prof. Giancarlo Colelli. He delivered the leading lecture: “A state of art on Quality and safety of fresh-cut products through the EC-funded R&D Project ‘QUAFETY’”. 

The next QUAFETY scientists brought out the following issues:

  • Maria Grzegorzewska (Poland) – The effect of hot water treatment on durability of Chinese cabbage
  • Periklis Tzamalis (Greece) – Development of a diagnostic instrument for evaluation of food quality and safety management system
  • Manuela Pintado (Portugal) – Impact of processing and storage on nutritional and functional properties of strawberry
  • Natasha Spadafora (UK) – Evaluation volatile organic Compounds in rocket leaf for non-destructing analysis of post-harvest quality
  • Marina Cavaiuolo (Italy) – Isolation of molecular markers for the evaluation of quality in pre-harvest and post-harvest stages in rocket and melon
  • Elazar Fallik (Israel) – Testing suitability of melon genotypes for fresh-cut processing.

The Commission chosen from Scientific Committee of Conference awarded three posters among delivered presentations. The first place was delivered to the poster based on QUAFETY project and entitled “The influence of hot water treatment on structure of rocket leaves tissues” by Dyki B., Grzegorzewska M., Murgrabia A., Panek E..

Source: Maria Grzegorzewska, Research Institute of Horticulture, Poland

Publication date: 4/7/2014
Author: Emanuela Fontana
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

E. Coli Protein Study Could Help Advance Detection, Treatment

E. coli has earned its reputation as a deadly pathogen lurking in contaminated foods, but a multi-year study may give it some positive press as a source of medical knowledge and potential therapeutics.

Researchers at Kansas State University are studying a protein secreted by E. coli bacteria that blocks functions of the body’s innate immune system with the hope of uncovering information that could improve understanding of how E. coli infects humans – and possibly help find therapies for a number of other diseases in the process.

Successful study of the protein could also translate into the development of better E. coli surveillance tools, or possibly provide insight into how to treat E. coli infections, said research lead Dr. Philip Hardwidge, associate professor at KSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The project is being funded through a multi-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The protein in question (known as “NleH1″) is encoded by pathogenic E. coli strains that reside within cattle and subsequently infect humans. It inhibits a cellular signaling pathway in mammals called IKK/N-F-Kappa-B, an important regulator of the immune system that provides a first line of defense against infection.

In short, the E. coli bacterium injects the protein directly into the infected host’s intestinal cells and effectively prevents the body’s immune system from defending against infection by silencing its ability to signal the immune system.

While the ultimate goal of the research is to provide a better biochemical understanding of the protein, the team’s potential insights could also benefit a range of other research.

First, the research may reveal molecular strategies of how E. coli targets host cells, leading to potential therapies against E. coli infection. Because the protein is injected directly from the bacterium into the host’s cells, it’s difficult to target the protein directly, but other drug therapies may become possible with a better understanding of how the protein disrupts the immune system, Hardwidge said.

The protein may also provide new tools for detecting potentially harmful strains of E. coli. Since NleH1 tends to be expressed primarily in virulent E. coli strains and not as frequently in strains harmless to humans, there may be ways to screen E. coli to detect new, potentially harmful strains before they cause an outbreak.

“In terms of being able to recognize and respond to potential future threats, it becomes important to not just wait for an outbreak to occur and then say, ‘Oh, this is dangerous,’” Hardwidge said.

Instead, he explained, it could be possible to use technologies to infer which strains might have the potential to cause a future outbreak. As new virulent strains are likely to evolve over time, cattle populations could theoretically be screened to see if any new strains possess NleH1 or a group of other proteins that also inhibit the host immune system, thus tipping researchers off to a potential threat.

A better grasp of the protein’s molecular mechanism of action could also lead to a range of anti-inflammatory therapeutics. Because the protein suppresses the body’s immune modulators that trigger inflammation, it could theoretically provide a novel way to treat inflammatory diseases unrelated to E. coli infections, such as Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The strategy would be similar to many other immunosuppressive therapies already working to treat patients with inflammatory diseases, but it would rely on a protein already evolved in an organism instead of by screening small molecules selected from chemical libraries using trial and error.

“Bacteria and viruses have already evolved very effective ways of inhibiting the inflammatory components of the immune system,” Hardwidge said. “Why not utilize this existing information, use that as a starting point, and refine those proteins into potential therapeutics?”

The idea of deriving such therapies is still emerging, but has the potential to add a new class of compounds to the armament of treatment strategies used against inflammatory diseases, he noted.

“This research will provide very basic information about how bacterial pathogens are able to disrupt or inhibit the innate immune system of the infected intestinal cell,” Hardwidge said. “Having a basic understanding at a very detailed molecular level has also revealed a lot about the normal functioning of the innate immune system.”

Food Safety News

Study shows strong growth in demand for water treatment equipment

Asia, Africa, Mideast, Eastern Europe, Central & South America:
Study shows strong growth in demand for water treatment equipment

World demand for water treatment equipment is expected to grow 6.9 percent per year to $ 53.4 billion in 2017. Developing parts of the world — the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America– are expected to show strong growth, with gains supported by improved access to treated drinking water and sanitation facilities, particularly through greater use of filtration and membrane systems. Expanding manufacturing and industrial activities requiring water treatment equipment such as membrane systems and disinfection equipment will also promote growth in these regions. These and other trends are presented in World Water Treatment Equipment, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Increasing standards for process and supply water in manufacturing and other industrial applications in all regions will contribute to strong growth prospects for membrane equipment. Membrane equipment demand will also be promoted by greater interest in water reuse, particularly in developed countries, and by the growing market for water desalination equipment, particularly in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Disinfection equipment is also expected to benefit in North America, Western Europe, and other developed areas from the implementation of regulations limiting the levels of disinfection byproducts found in drinking water that has been treated with chemical disinfectants.  The market for filtration equipment is relatively mature and faces competition from membrane systems and other newer technologies.  As a result, demand for filtration equipment is expected to grow at a more modest pace, with most gains occurring in the municipal markets in developing parts of the world.  

For more information:
Corinne Gangloff
Freedonia Group
Tel: +1 440.684.9600
Email: [email protected]
www.freedoniagroup.com

Publication date: 1/2/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Chile green lights the import of Peruvian Hass avocado without cold treatment

Chile green lights the import of Peruvian Hass avocado without cold treatment

Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture has approved the free access of Peruvian Hass avocados without cold treatment as had been requested by the Peru’s Hass Avocado Committee, the Financial Times reported.

Luis Mayol, Chile’s minister of agriculture, explained that they taken this decision because they hadn’t had any virus events since the SAG begun preventive control.

“Chile has to respect its phytosanitary patrimony, but keeping in mind that it’s an open country and that it has to be respectful of international market rules,” he said.

“We have earned a huge reputation for being a serious country, which protects its health whilst meeting WTO international standards,” he said and, in turn, justified the measure as the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) will continue taking action to prevent the spread of this pest.

“We have to be consistent and respectful of international trade rules,” he said. “The United States has been exporting to Chile for the past 14 years and we’ve never had events. We mustn’t expose ourselves to a WTO panel,” he added.

SAG ‘s decision was taken after a meeting between Mayol and the president of the Hass Avocado Committee, Aldolfo Ochagavía. The alternative proposed by the Hass Avocado Committee to submit a certification for 4% of the surface of avocados from Peru was also ruled out during the meeting.

The decision had already been taken as it wasn’t being applied to the imports from other countries, such as Mexico and the United States, which wouldn’t be willing to agree with this, he said.

The Committee’s view

In turn, Adolfo Ochagavia, President of the Avocado Committee regretted the decision to allow imports of Peruvian avocados and expressed concern for the country’s producers’ orchard’s integrity.

“We’re very concerned. We were informed that they had already made a decision,” said Ochagavía, justifying the measure against the entry of Peruvian products as a defence of the country’s phytosanitary patrimony.”

“We favour trade and we need foreign supply in low season,” he said.

Source: Agraria.pe

Publication date: 9/30/2013


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