Blog Archives

Stemilt’s Kyle Mathison orchestrates cherry harvest under a full moon

Stemilt-Moon-Cherries--pouch-bag

In the life of a cherry grower, it’s not every day that everything aligns just as you would want them to. However, for fourth-generation Stemilt cherry grower Kyle Mathison and his high-altitude Moon cherries, this year’s harvest is shaping up exactly the way he would prefer if he could have scripted it.

That’s because July 18 will have a full moon. This is the lunar phase that Mathison prefers to harvest his cherries under, as he finds the extra gravitational pull from the moon boosts his cherry trees’ ability to deliver energy to the growing fruits in the form of carbohydrates. The result is jumbo-sized cherries with higher sugars, acids, and aromatics to deliver a memorable dessert eating experience.

“There’s no better time to harvest cherries than around a full moon,” Mathison, who has been farming cherries on Stemilt Hill in Wenatchee, WA, for more than four decades, said in a press release. “A full moon brings energy with it, and that energy pulls nutrients from the roots of cherry trees right into the fruit. The result is large and firm cherries that are truly world famous. Each cherry explodes with flavor when you bite into it.”Stemilt-Moon-Cherries--pouch-bag

Mathison just started harvesting cherries from his unique Amigos Orchards in Wenatchee, located 2,640 feet above sea level and higher, or literally a half mile closer to the moon. These cherries are the latest freshly harvested cherries in Washington state, and though coming off the tree earlier than they typically do, will still take Stemilt’s cherry harvest into early August. In a normal year where Washington cherries start in June, cherry harvest at Amigos would go into September.

The start of harvest at Amigos also signals the start of Stemilt’s A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherry program, where premium cherries from high-altitudes are packed into specially marked pouch bags to offer retailers with a unique story to share with shoppers, and a grand finale to cherry season. This is the fifth year Stemilt has packed “Moon cherries.”

Named after the Spanish word for friends, the Amigos orchards overlook the Columbia River and town of Wenatchee not too far from the family’s original homestead on Stemilt Hill. In the cherry world, any orchard planted above 1,800 feet is considered high-elevation. Having already surpassed that height, Mathison began planting cherries at even higher elevations in 2002 in order to stretch the availability of Stemilt cherries.

New this year, Stemilt has a Moon cherry video to help retailers tell the farm to fork story of these special cherries with their shoppers on social and digital channels. The video features Kyle and West Mathison and the unique geography, farming practices, and unmatched passion Kyle has for growing Moon cherries.

Not only is his 2016 Moon cherry harvest aligning with the ideal lunar cycle, but the growing conditions all summer long have been a dream at Amigos. Mathison’s crop will produce jumbo-sized cherries with high firmness, sugars, acids and true dessert qualities.

“They are going to wow consumers,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in the release. “Sweetheart, Skeena and Staccato are the varieties grown by Kyle at Amigos, and all three have benefitted from near-perfect growing conditions this year. Warm but not hot days followed by cool nights and the added benefit of being fueled by Kyle’s prescription natural fertilizer made at his nearby compost farm result in fantastic cherries. We’re excited to deliver consumers with this final and memorable taste of Stemilt cherries through our branded A Half Mile Closer to the Moon program. It’s an exciting way to finish off another great cherry season.”

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

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

The quick devaluation of the Russian currency is taking a big toll on exporters and will put huge pressure on many of them. Mr Avi Kadan, of the Israeli company Adafresh, states that “the big question is who will survive and who will not, depending on how much the Rouble will fall.”

This situation has coincided with yet another bad start for Israel’s pepper campaign. “The problem is that I don’t see alternative crops in the Arava Valley, but luckily, it’s only the start of the season; we have another four months to go, and if pepper prices are still reasonable with the new Rouble rates, we will be ok,” affirms Avi.

The key aspect to take into account is that Russia is a very important market for Israeli pepper growers, and Avi assures that Government funds may be needed to help palliate their debts. “The situation for exporters will depend on the percentage that the Russian market represented for them and who their clients were. Those trading with supermarkets in U.S. dollars, for example, will be in a good position.”

For Adafresh, the impact of the Russian crisis will not be as bad, as overall, Russia only accounts for 5% of the company’s business. “We have a strong partner with us and are Europe-oriented, but for sure, other companies lacking marketing channels may suffer.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, the situation is similar, and even a little better than last year. However, “a lot of peppers that were intended for Russia will now end up in Europe, so there is a risk the market may collapse,” states Avi.

This naturally has led Adafresh to look for opportunities in alternative markets, namely in America. “We used to be very strong there, until the air freight price became too expensive for us, but with the current oil price sea freight is an option and the U.S. is certainly becoming again a good option for November December, with the advantage that we won’t need to develop it from scratch,” concludes Avi Kadan.

For more information:
Avi Kadan
Adafresh
Email: [email protected]
www.adafresh.co.il

Publication date: 12/24/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

Chilean grape shipments under way

Harvesting in Chile’s Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the largest export market, receiving roughly 70 percent of all Copiapó grapes.

The main early varieties are Perlette, Thompson, Flame and Superior, but the Copiapó growers, along with the rest of the Chilean grape industry, are working diligently to introduce new varieties. In Copiapó, such new varieties include Prime, Allison, Arra 15, Timco and Ralli.

“I recently spoke on North America market trends at a seminar hosted by the Producer and Exporters Association of Copiapó,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “Growers clearly have a strong focus on North America, and a commitment to meeting the market’s needs. With positive reports on this year’s crop, we’re looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

The CFFA supports grape promotions throughout the season and has recently hired a new merchandiser in eastern Canada to further expand the marketing of fresh fruit from Chile.

Chilean grapes represent over 40 percent of total Chilean fresh fruit export volumes to the United States. Over 300,000 tons were shipped to the United States last year.

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

“Russian importers are currently under great pressure”

Gabriel Berard, Bretonskiy Koupets:
“Russian importers are currently under great pressure”

Gabriel Berard is a specialised intermediary between producers or traders and Russian companies. With the firm Bretonskiy Koupets, he acts as A local helpdesk for exporters to Russia. He is currently going through a difficult time because all fruit and vegetable exports from the EU have stopped. “Luckily, I am a very flexible agent and have few costs. Now that EU exports have stopped I focus on overseas suppliers shipping to Russia. I invite these exporters to connect on my platform and I offer also new services, such as market monitoring for traders. Currently, I already offer a weekly market report on tomatoes and citrus and I hope to find more customers for this service to expand in the future.”


The Russian apple-corner in Auchan hypermarket in Moscow last Sunday. (1 Euro = 58 rub)

Less work for importers
According to Gabriel, the situation for Russian fruit and vegetable traders is very hard. “Russian importers are tense because the volumes and margins are under great pressure. The import ban is just one of the many factors that make the situation difficult; there is also a drop in the value of the Rouble, the cancellation of credit lines, the decline in consumer spending and the development of direct imports by discounters. For example, the Russian discounters ‘Dixy’ and ‘Tander’ make a lot of imports themselves. The Russian import of fruits and vegetables in September 2014 dropped by 10% in volume compared to September 2013. During the same period, the volumes of fruit and vegetables imported directly by retailers has increased by 7%. This has resulted in traders having a lot less work.”

Self-sufficiency
Russia is not yet self-sufficient, but there is now a stronger focus on local production. Investments are made in Russian orchards and greenhouses and the boycott works as an additional incentive. “The demand for quality local produce is high; in September, Russian imports of tomatoes and apples dropped by 44% and 41% respectively compared to September last year. Russian growers are doing very well. To capitalise on this trend, Bretonskiy Koupets invited the owner of a modern Russian orchard to use my platform.” (see picture below)


Alma Fruits, a modern Russian Orchard

“Everyone notices a paradigm shift in the Russian market. Import margins are smaller and it is very difficult for traditional importers to stay afloat. For Russian traders, the most important long-term effects of this growth are: large-scale changes in integrated logistics, the modernisation of trade, expansion in the region and localisation of supplies. European traders in the future will also have the opportunity to play a role in Russia’s consolidation through modern, high-capacity traders.”

He strongly believes that Russia and Europe will work together again in the future. “When this crisis is over, I hope that European products will find their way back to the shopping basket of Russian consumers.” The ban is supposed to last for one year, but that’s not certain. “The ban on EU products was imposed by the Russian Government on 7 August in response to economic sanctions against Russia that were taken by the EU on 31 July. We can reasonably expect that the Russian boycott will be lifted if Europe also puts and end to its own sanctions.”

For more information:
Gabriel Berard
SAS Bretonskiy Koupets
Parc d’Innovation Bretagne Sud
Place Albert Einstein – CP 125
56038 Vannes – Frankrijk
Skype ID: gabrielberard
[email protected]

Publication date: 11/21/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Produce groups urge the FDA to change off-farm packinghouse rules under FSMA

WASHINGTON — Different standards for packinghouses under the Food Safety Modernization Act based on their location will cause confusion within the industry and are not science-based, produce industry groups told officials at the Food & Drug Administration during a Thursday public meeting on FSMA changes.

Under the FDA’s current interpretation of FSMA, on-farm packinghouses would need to meet produce safety standards, but off-farm operations, which must register with the FDA, would have to meet more extensive and costly preventive control requirements.

Registered facilities that only handle raw agriculture commodities and don’t conduct further processing should be covered under the produce safety rule, Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, argued during the meeting held in College Park, MD. Food safety and public heath benefits are likely to be best served by a single rule, he said.

“The current regulation as proposed will result in confusion in the produce industry by requiring those actually subject to registration to establish an independent food-safety program for raw agricultural commodities rather than those established by the produce rule,” he said, adding that all the additional recordkeeping, staffing and testing requirements for off-farm operations based “only on the physical location of the operation is not practical.”

David Gombas, senior vice president for food safety and technology at the United Fresh Produce Association, urged the FDA to add language to the FSMA rules that would allow off-farm facilities that meet produce safety requirements to automatically satisfy preventive controls.

FDA staff acknowledged the issue has not been put to rest by the latest fixes to its farm definition.

“We’re considering [this issue] ourselves,” Rebecca Buckner, the FDA’s implementation manager, said during the day-long meeting.

But the issue is not easy to resolve because the statute requires facilities registered with the FDA to meet preventive controls, said Jenny Scott, senior adviser at the Office of Food Safety at the FDA. Only farms and retail operations are exempted from registering with the FDA as facilities.

“We are looking at all those definitions and what can and can’t change,” said Scott. “We certainly appreciate your thoughts of how a facility that has to register could be moved into the produce rule that applies to farms.

“I’m sure that’s an area where you have your legal counsel looking at very carefully,” she quipped.

Gombas also urged the FDA to back off product testing as a verification tool for raw agricultural commodities.

“You test one strawberry or apple, you’ve tested one strawberry or apple,” he said. “The results tell you nothing about the rest.”

He also proposed a simpler, modified approach to water testing and urged the FDA to move away from its complicated testing standard in the produce safety rule.

In other comments, consumer groups urged the FDA to scrap its current proposed small business definition of less than $ 1 million in annual food sales for the preventive controls rule, suggesting the large number of exempted processors and foreign suppliers will put consumers at risk.

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

Produce groups urge the FDA to change off-farm packinghouse rules under FSMA

WASHINGTON — Different standards for packinghouses under the Food Safety Modernization Act based on their location will cause confusion within the industry and are not science-based, produce industry groups told officials at the Food & Drug Administration during a Thursday public meeting on FSMA changes.

Under the FDA’s current interpretation of FSMA, on-farm packinghouses would need to meet produce safety standards, but off-farm operations, which must register with the FDA, would have to meet more extensive and costly preventive control requirements.

Registered facilities that only handle raw agriculture commodities and don’t conduct further processing should be covered under the produce safety rule, Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, argued during the meeting held in College Park, MD. Food safety and public heath benefits are likely to be best served by a single rule, he said.

“The current regulation as proposed will result in confusion in the produce industry by requiring those actually subject to registration to establish an independent food-safety program for raw agricultural commodities rather than those established by the produce rule,” he said, adding that all the additional recordkeeping, staffing and testing requirements for off-farm operations based “only on the physical location of the operation is not practical.”

David Gombas, senior vice president for food safety and technology at the United Fresh Produce Association, urged the FDA to add language to the FSMA rules that would allow off-farm facilities that meet produce safety requirements to automatically satisfy preventive controls.

FDA staff acknowledged the issue has not been put to rest by the latest fixes to its farm definition.

“We’re considering [this issue] ourselves,” Rebecca Buckner, the FDA’s implementation manager, said during the day-long meeting.

But the issue is not easy to resolve because the statute requires facilities registered with the FDA to meet preventive controls, said Jenny Scott, senior adviser at the Office of Food Safety at the FDA. Only farms and retail operations are exempted from registering with the FDA as facilities.

“We are looking at all those definitions and what can and can’t change,” said Scott. “We certainly appreciate your thoughts of how a facility that has to register could be moved into the produce rule that applies to farms.

“I’m sure that’s an area where you have your legal counsel looking at very carefully,” she quipped.

Gombas also urged the FDA to back off product testing as a verification tool for raw agricultural commodities.

“You test one strawberry or apple, you’ve tested one strawberry or apple,” he said. “The results tell you nothing about the rest.”

He also proposed a simpler, modified approach to water testing and urged the FDA to move away from its complicated testing standard in the produce safety rule.

In other comments, consumer groups urged the FDA to scrap its current proposed small business definition of less than $ 1 million in annual food sales for the preventive controls rule, suggesting the large number of exempted processors and foreign suppliers will put consumers at risk.

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

FDA Warning Letters: Food Made Under Unsanitary Conditions

In its latest round of warning letters to food processors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to three food processors who were found to be producing without proper food safety plans and therefore producing under insanitary conditions.

Los Angeles-based International Marine Products, Inc. was found to not have hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans for its canned crabmeat and marinated anchovy fillets. By the FDA’s definition, those products were considered to be made under insanitary conditions.

The FDA found Old Mill Bread Company of Seattle had serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. Specifically, the company failed to effectively control for pests in processing areas.

Inspectors at Old Mill Bread’s facilities found two insects crawling inside the dough sheeter as it was in use. They also found 72 dead and live insects inside a dough mixer bowl not in use, and at least eight dead insects in flour on the floor adjacent to the dough mixer.

The company was also cited for a number of other failures, including failure to maintain equipment in a manner that protected against contamination.

Finally, Fitkin Popcorn or Cedar Falls, IA, was also found to be violating the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for also not taking effective measures to exclude pests from the facility.

An inspection of the company in September found a number of pest problems, including rodent and bat droppings on the floor in the room where popcorn bags were stored. The firm also failed to provide hand-washing facilities in the area where popcorn was sifted, cleaned and packaged into those bags.

Each company was given 15 days to respond to the concerns raised by FDA in the warning letters.

Food Safety News

FDA Warning Letters: Food Made Under Unsanitary Conditions

In its latest round of warning letters to food processors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to three food processors who were found to be producing without proper food safety plans and therefore producing under insanitary conditions.

Los Angeles-based International Marine Products, Inc. was found to not have hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans for its canned crabmeat and marinated anchovy fillets. By the FDA’s definition, those products were considered to be made under insanitary conditions.

The FDA found Old Mill Bread Company of Seattle had serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. Specifically, the company failed to effectively control for pests in processing areas.

Inspectors at Old Mill Bread’s facilities found two insects crawling inside the dough sheeter as it was in use. They also found 72 dead and live insects inside a dough mixer bowl not in use, and at least eight dead insects in flour on the floor adjacent to the dough mixer.

The company was also cited for a number of other failures, including failure to maintain equipment in a manner that protected against contamination.

Finally, Fitkin Popcorn or Cedar Falls, IA, was also found to be violating the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for also not taking effective measures to exclude pests from the facility.

An inspection of the company in September found a number of pest problems, including rodent and bat droppings on the floor in the room where popcorn bags were stored. The firm also failed to provide hand-washing facilities in the area where popcorn was sifted, cleaned and packaged into those bags.

Each company was given 15 days to respond to the concerns raised by FDA in the warning letters.

Food Safety News

FDA Warning Letters: Food Made Under Unsanitary Conditions

In its latest round of warning letters to food processors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to three food processors who were found to be producing without proper food safety plans and therefore producing under insanitary conditions.

Los Angeles-based International Marine Products, Inc. was found to not have hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans for its canned crabmeat and marinated anchovy fillets. By the FDA’s definition, those products were considered to be made under insanitary conditions.

The FDA found Old Mill Bread Company of Seattle had serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. Specifically, the company failed to effectively control for pests in processing areas.

Inspectors at Old Mill Bread’s facilities found two insects crawling inside the dough sheeter as it was in use. They also found 72 dead and live insects inside a dough mixer bowl not in use, and at least eight dead insects in flour on the floor adjacent to the dough mixer.

The company was also cited for a number of other failures, including failure to maintain equipment in a manner that protected against contamination.

Finally, Fitkin Popcorn or Cedar Falls, IA, was also found to be violating the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for also not taking effective measures to exclude pests from the facility.

An inspection of the company in September found a number of pest problems, including rodent and bat droppings on the floor in the room where popcorn bags were stored. The firm also failed to provide hand-washing facilities in the area where popcorn was sifted, cleaned and packaged into those bags.

Each company was given 15 days to respond to the concerns raised by FDA in the warning letters.

Food Safety News

Caramel Naturel Dates 2014 fresh harvest under way

Atlas Produce and Distribution Inc., a shipper of 100 percent natural strictly California-grown dates, announced that the 2014 date harvest is under way.Caramel-Naturel-logo

“The quality once again is looking excellent,” Robert Dobrzanski, president of Atlas Produce, said in a press release.

The California drought condition is a major concern for all of the agricultural community, but the hot and dry conditions this summer have been perfect for Medjool dates. The California harvest this year started about two weeks earlier than normal due to the weather.

“The difference Carmel Naturel dates offer is that we only grow our dates in the sunny state of California,” he said. “Our consumers constantly tell us that California dates are their favorite. Our loyal Caramel Naturel date retail partners have noticed this as well and have told us that they prefer California-grown dates over dates grown elsewhere.”

As for sales, Dobrzanski said things are going very well: “Caramel Naturel dates sales this year have exceeded our expectations, and we attribute our success to our unwavering attention to quality.”

Caramel Naturel dates display the “California Grown” symbol on all of its packaging to give consumers added confidence in the brand.

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

Caramel Naturel Dates 2014 fresh harvest under way

Atlas Produce and Distribution Inc., a shipper of 100 percent natural strictly California-grown dates, announced that the 2014 date harvest is under way.Caramel-Naturel-logo

“The quality once again is looking excellent,” Robert Dobrzanski, president of Atlas Produce, said in a press release.

The California drought condition is a major concern for all of the agricultural community, but the hot and dry conditions this summer have been perfect for Medjool dates. The California harvest this year started about two weeks earlier than normal due to the weather.

“The difference Carmel Naturel dates offer is that we only grow our dates in the sunny state of California,” he said. “Our consumers constantly tell us that California dates are their favorite. Our loyal Caramel Naturel date retail partners have noticed this as well and have told us that they prefer California-grown dates over dates grown elsewhere.”

As for sales, Dobrzanski said things are going very well: “Caramel Naturel dates sales this year have exceeded our expectations, and we attribute our success to our unwavering attention to quality.”

Caramel Naturel dates display the “California Grown” symbol on all of its packaging to give consumers added confidence in the brand.

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

FDA rolls out four food-safety proposals under the Food Safety Modernization Act

WASHINGTON — Early this morning, the Food & Drug Administration released four rewrites of the Food Safety Modernization Act rules, including some critical water quality and testing changes advocated by the industry to make produce safety regulations more workable.

Stakeholders will have 75 days to dig deep into hundreds of pages of regulations on produce safety, preventive controls for human and animal food, and the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program for importers.

“Based on valuable input from farmers, consumers, the food-industry and academic experts, the FDA is proposing to update these four proposed rules to ensure a more flexible and targeted means to ensure future safety,” said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

FDA opted for the 2012 Environmental Protection Agency recreational water quality standard, backed away from the weekly testing requirement and will allow farmers whose agriculture water don’t meet the new microbial standard to establish a sufficient interval of days between last irrigation and harvest for microbes to die off.

The agency completely abandoned its prescribed intervals between application of raw manure and crop harvest, and instead plans a multi-year risk assessment on the practice with the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“At first blush, we got some of the things we told FDA was not developed appropriately, and some things we didn’t,” said David Gombas, United Fresh Produce Association’s senior vice president of food safety and technology. He said it will take some time for United Fresh working groups to analyze the hefty rule changes.

Gombas said operations would have to develop two-year baselines and conduct verification testing five times a year. Collecting 20 samples over two years is not as burdensome as the original proposal, he said.

FDA also revised the rule to no longer require farms to register as facilities if they pack or hold raw agricultural commodities grown on another farm under a different ownership.

Although FDA appears to have heard many of the criticisms about the rule, some areas remain troublesome.

FDA expanded which farms are excluded from the rule by proposing that farms or farm mixed-type facilities with an average annual monetary value of produce sales, rather than all food sales, of $ 25,000 or less are not covered.

“We think that’s the wrong way to go,” Gombas said. United Fresh has found that small operations can comply with the food safety controls.

The agency also did not tackle the exemption for commodities consumed raw, and, as expected, introduced new supplier controls, product testing and environmental monitoring in the proposed changes to the preventive controls for human foods.

Product testing, even as a tool to verify whether preventive controls are working, is going to be burdensome and the science is not yet clear on its value, Gombas noted.

For more information on the new proposals, go to FDA’s web site at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm415132.htm.

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

FDA rolls out four food-safety proposals under the Food Safety Modernization Act

WASHINGTON — Early this morning, the Food & Drug Administration released four rewrites of the Food Safety Modernization Act rules, including some critical water quality and testing changes advocated by the industry to make produce safety regulations more workable.

Stakeholders will have 75 days to dig deep into hundreds of pages of regulations on produce safety, preventive controls for human and animal food, and the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program for importers.

“Based on valuable input from farmers, consumers, the food-industry and academic experts, the FDA is proposing to update these four proposed rules to ensure a more flexible and targeted means to ensure future safety,” said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

FDA opted for the 2012 Environmental Protection Agency recreational water quality standard, backed away from the weekly testing requirement and will allow farmers whose agriculture water don’t meet the new microbial standard to establish a sufficient interval of days between last irrigation and harvest for microbes to die off.

The agency completely abandoned its prescribed intervals between application of raw manure and crop harvest, and instead plans a multi-year risk assessment on the practice with the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“At first blush, we got some of the things we told FDA was not developed appropriately, and some things we didn’t,” said David Gombas, United Fresh Produce Association’s senior vice president of food safety and technology. He said it will take some time for United Fresh working groups to analyze the hefty rule changes.

Gombas said operations would have to develop two-year baselines and conduct verification testing five times a year. Collecting 20 samples over two years is not as burdensome as the original proposal, he said.

FDA also revised the rule to no longer require farms to register as facilities if they pack or hold raw agricultural commodities grown on another farm under a different ownership.

Although FDA appears to have heard many of the criticisms about the rule, some areas remain troublesome.

FDA expanded which farms are excluded from the rule by proposing that farms or farm mixed-type facilities with an average annual monetary value of produce sales, rather than all food sales, of $ 25,000 or less are not covered.

“We think that’s the wrong way to go,” Gombas said. United Fresh has found that small operations can comply with the food safety controls.

The agency also did not tackle the exemption for commodities consumed raw, and, as expected, introduced new supplier controls, product testing and environmental monitoring in the proposed changes to the preventive controls for human foods.

Product testing, even as a tool to verify whether preventive controls are working, is going to be burdensome and the science is not yet clear on its value, Gombas noted.

For more information on the new proposals, go to FDA’s web site at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm415132.htm.

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