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Two E. coli cases linked to livestock close Washington school

Two young Washington state girls are hospitalized with complications from E. coli infection and their school has been temporarily closed for cleaning. One of the girls has reportedly developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious kidney condition linked to E. coli infection.

Health officials said the source of their exposure to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria was probably not food but contact with animals.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-petting-zoo-image1008725

Contact with livestock can be a source of E. coli infection. (Photo illustration)

“The exact source of contamination in E. coli can be very difficult to identify, but at this point we believe the children were likely exposed to livestock near their home,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District.

A health district Facebook posting indicated that, “… based on our Communicable Disease team’s initial investigation and interviews with family, we do not believe this was caused by a food source.”

The Monroe Montessori School in Monroe, WA, was temporarily closed on Wednesday, and nobody answered the phone there on Thursday. Approximately 60 students and staff members were said to have potentially been exposed to the bacteria and were being tested for the infection.

A health district statement issued Wednesday noted that the school “has temporarily closed for disinfecting as a precaution,” and that the school, the district, the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Department of Early Learning were coordinating on the E. coli testing.

Contact with livestock in a rural area, a farm, or a petting zoo are common sources of E. coli bacteria. An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection last year in Washington state was traced to a fairgrounds dairy barn in Lynden, WA. That outbreak sickened 25 people, mostly young children, and hospitalized 10 of them.

Symptoms of STEC infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is less than 101 degrees F. Most people get better within five to seven days as infections can be mild, but others can be severe or even life-threatening.

Young children and the elderly are more likely to experience serious illness. People with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women, are also at risk for serious illness.

Between 5 and 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develop the potentially life-threatening complication of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Clues that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people who develop HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

Handwashing is the most effective way to reduce chances of getting sick. Adults should supervise young children to make sure they don’t put their hands in their mouths and make sure that their hands are washed thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom.

The spread of illnesses from animals, such as those caused by E. coli, are commonly linked to hand-to-mouth contact. It is also important to avoid swallowing water when swimming and playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

More information about STEC and other types of E. coli can be found here.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Food Safety News

China reopens market access to Washington apple growers

On Oct. 29, the Washington Apple Commission announced the reinstatement of market access to China for Red and Golden Delicious apples. “Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China,” the commission said in its statement.

Following two years of negotiations, three Chinese officials conducted an on-site visit in September, allaying these fears.

“The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington,” according to the statement.

WA-AppleOverviewFollowing two years of negotiation, officials in China reinstated market access for Washington apple growers to move Red and Golden Delicious varieties. The Washington Apple Commission continues to work to gain full varietal access in China in the coming years. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission)WAC President Todd Fryhover said the market reopening is a significant step. “The long-term goal is to get full varietal access in China,” he told The Produce News.

He said historically 2.5 million cartons of apples, valued at $ 20 per box, have been shipped to the region. “China and Hong Kong are one promotional activity,” he explained. “Hong Kong is a free port. China is not.”

As a result of the agreement, Fryhover said Reds and Golds will move directly into China. “We hope in the first year of full varietal access to have 500,000 to 1 million boxes,” he added. “Regaining access to China is very important to Washington growers.”

Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, agreed. “The re-opening of China to Washington apples is great news, and it is particularly welcome as we complete the harvest of a large crop since one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported.

“Through Sunday, Oct. 26, 20.681 million boxes of apples have been shipped in Washington,” DeVaney continued. “This is 34.5 percent above last year’s shipments through this date, and 42 percent above shipments to the same date in 2012 when we had our last record crop. Given that our August crop forecast was for a crop of 140.2 million, which would be 21.8 percent higher than the 2013 crop, our shipments to date are clearly on track to successfully move this year’s crop even if it comes in above the August forecast.”

He said apple quality is excellent and sizing is trending larger this season. “The only mild surprise was that the Oct. 1 estimate for Honeycrisp came in 4.9 percent lower than the August estimate, although at 7.422 million boxes the Honeycrisp crop is still substantially above last year’s 4.513 million boxes.”

 

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

China reopens market access to Washington apple growers

On Oct. 29, the Washington Apple Commission announced the reinstatement of market access to China for Red and Golden Delicious apples. “Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China,” the commission said in its statement.

Following two years of negotiations, three Chinese officials conducted an on-site visit in September, allaying these fears.

“The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington,” according to the statement.

WA-AppleOverviewFollowing two years of negotiation, officials in China reinstated market access for Washington apple growers to move Red and Golden Delicious varieties. The Washington Apple Commission continues to work to gain full varietal access in China in the coming years. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission)WAC President Todd Fryhover said the market reopening is a significant step. “The long-term goal is to get full varietal access in China,” he told The Produce News.

He said historically 2.5 million cartons of apples, valued at $ 20 per box, have been shipped to the region. “China and Hong Kong are one promotional activity,” he explained. “Hong Kong is a free port. China is not.”

As a result of the agreement, Fryhover said Reds and Golds will move directly into China. “We hope in the first year of full varietal access to have 500,000 to 1 million boxes,” he added. “Regaining access to China is very important to Washington growers.”

Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, agreed. “The re-opening of China to Washington apples is great news, and it is particularly welcome as we complete the harvest of a large crop since one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported.

“Through Sunday, Oct. 26, 20.681 million boxes of apples have been shipped in Washington,” DeVaney continued. “This is 34.5 percent above last year’s shipments through this date, and 42 percent above shipments to the same date in 2012 when we had our last record crop. Given that our August crop forecast was for a crop of 140.2 million, which would be 21.8 percent higher than the 2013 crop, our shipments to date are clearly on track to successfully move this year’s crop even if it comes in above the August forecast.”

He said apple quality is excellent and sizing is trending larger this season. “The only mild surprise was that the Oct. 1 estimate for Honeycrisp came in 4.9 percent lower than the August estimate, although at 7.422 million boxes the Honeycrisp crop is still substantially above last year’s 4.513 million boxes.”

 

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

China reopens market access to Washington apple growers

On Oct. 29, the Washington Apple Commission announced the reinstatement of market access to China for Red and Golden Delicious apples. “Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China,” the commission said in its statement.

Following two years of negotiations, three Chinese officials conducted an on-site visit in September, allaying these fears.

“The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington,” according to the statement.

WA-AppleOverviewFollowing two years of negotiation, officials in China reinstated market access for Washington apple growers to move Red and Golden Delicious varieties. The Washington Apple Commission continues to work to gain full varietal access in China in the coming years. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission)WAC President Todd Fryhover said the market reopening is a significant step. “The long-term goal is to get full varietal access in China,” he told The Produce News.

He said historically 2.5 million cartons of apples, valued at $ 20 per box, have been shipped to the region. “China and Hong Kong are one promotional activity,” he explained. “Hong Kong is a free port. China is not.”

As a result of the agreement, Fryhover said Reds and Golds will move directly into China. “We hope in the first year of full varietal access to have 500,000 to 1 million boxes,” he added. “Regaining access to China is very important to Washington growers.”

Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, agreed. “The re-opening of China to Washington apples is great news, and it is particularly welcome as we complete the harvest of a large crop since one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported.

“Through Sunday, Oct. 26, 20.681 million boxes of apples have been shipped in Washington,” DeVaney continued. “This is 34.5 percent above last year’s shipments through this date, and 42 percent above shipments to the same date in 2012 when we had our last record crop. Given that our August crop forecast was for a crop of 140.2 million, which would be 21.8 percent higher than the 2013 crop, our shipments to date are clearly on track to successfully move this year’s crop even if it comes in above the August forecast.”

He said apple quality is excellent and sizing is trending larger this season. “The only mild surprise was that the Oct. 1 estimate for Honeycrisp came in 4.9 percent lower than the August estimate, although at 7.422 million boxes the Honeycrisp crop is still substantially above last year’s 4.513 million boxes.”

 

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

China reopens market access to Washington apple growers

On Oct. 29, the Washington Apple Commission announced the reinstatement of market access to China for Red and Golden Delicious apples. “Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China,” the commission said in its statement.

Following two years of negotiations, three Chinese officials conducted an on-site visit in September, allaying these fears.

“The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington,” according to the statement.

WA-AppleOverviewFollowing two years of negotiation, officials in China reinstated market access for Washington apple growers to move Red and Golden Delicious varieties. The Washington Apple Commission continues to work to gain full varietal access in China in the coming years. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission)WAC President Todd Fryhover said the market reopening is a significant step. “The long-term goal is to get full varietal access in China,” he told The Produce News.

He said historically 2.5 million cartons of apples, valued at $ 20 per box, have been shipped to the region. “China and Hong Kong are one promotional activity,” he explained. “Hong Kong is a free port. China is not.”

As a result of the agreement, Fryhover said Reds and Golds will move directly into China. “We hope in the first year of full varietal access to have 500,000 to 1 million boxes,” he added. “Regaining access to China is very important to Washington growers.”

Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, agreed. “The re-opening of China to Washington apples is great news, and it is particularly welcome as we complete the harvest of a large crop since one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported.

“Through Sunday, Oct. 26, 20.681 million boxes of apples have been shipped in Washington,” DeVaney continued. “This is 34.5 percent above last year’s shipments through this date, and 42 percent above shipments to the same date in 2012 when we had our last record crop. Given that our August crop forecast was for a crop of 140.2 million, which would be 21.8 percent higher than the 2013 crop, our shipments to date are clearly on track to successfully move this year’s crop even if it comes in above the August forecast.”

He said apple quality is excellent and sizing is trending larger this season. “The only mild surprise was that the Oct. 1 estimate for Honeycrisp came in 4.9 percent lower than the August estimate, although at 7.422 million boxes the Honeycrisp crop is still substantially above last year’s 4.513 million boxes.”

 

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

US (WA): Apricot season transitions from California to Washington

US (WA): Apricot season transitions from California to Washington

As the California apricot season winds down, volumes of fruit are picking up in Washington. While the market is currently tight, that should be resolved as more varieties come online in the near future.

“Size of fruit is up a bit from last year, and our orchards were lucky enough to avoid hail damage,” said Viva Tierra’s Addie Pobst. While she noted that hail damage is always a danger growers have to look out for early in the Summer, the absence of that has allowed Viva Tierra to start the season off well.

“We will have nearly double the production volume we had last year,” added Pobst. With only late-variety fruit coming out of California, the market is now looking to Washington for apricots. Viva Tierra currently has the Robada apricot available, and though Pobst said the market is a little tight right now because there isn’t a lot of volume, prices should come down as volumes pick up later in the season. Viva Tierra’s other varieties include the Perfection and Rival, which they ship in two-layer panta packs and 24 pound volume fill.

“Quality will be similar to last year, which was great,” said Pobst. “It’s just a question of making sure we pick the fruit at its peak of flavor and get them out to the stores so people can enjoy them.”

Addie Pobst
Viva Tierra Organic, Inc.
Tel: +1 360 855 3195
www.vivatierra.com 

Publication date: 6/26/2013
Author: Ben Littler
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Washington apples to restart shipments to China

After more than two years without access to China for Washington Red and Golden Delicious apples, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service officially announced reinstatement of market access for apples from Washington state to China, effective immediately.

Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China.

After two years of negotiations between the two governments, a recent site visit by Chinese Plant Quarantine officials — supported by APHIS, Northwest Fruit Exporters, Northwest Horticultural Council and industry members — was able to alleviate concerns of spreading the disease by mature, symptomless apples. The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington.

China, although the world’s largest apple producer, is also a major market for Washington apples, and eclipsed 3 million 40-pound cartons during the 2010-11 marketing year, making it the industry’s fourth-largest export market that season.

“Clearly China has great potential for Washington apples, with an increasing middle class willing to purchase high-quality apples,” Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, said in a press release. “This year, with our record crop, Chinese consumers will again have the opportunity to enjoy Washington apples, and our growers will have access to this important growth market.”

The Washington Apple Commission is the international marketing arm of the Washington apple industry and conducts promotions in over 25 global markets to drive consumer demand for apples from Washington state, which produces more than 90 percent of U.S. apple exports.

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

Washington apples to restart shipments to China

After more than two years without access to China for Washington Red and Golden Delicious apples, USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service officially announced reinstatement of market access for apples from Washington state to China, effective immediately.

Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China.

After two years of negotiations between the two governments, a recent site visit by Chinese Plant Quarantine officials — supported by APHIS, Northwest Fruit Exporters, Northwest Horticultural Council and industry members — was able to alleviate concerns of spreading the disease by mature, symptomless apples. The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington.

China, although the world’s largest apple producer, is also a major market for Washington apples, and eclipsed 3 million 40-pound cartons during the 2010-11 marketing year, making it the industry’s fourth-largest export market that season.

“Clearly China has great potential for Washington apples, with an increasing middle class willing to purchase high-quality apples,” Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, said in a press release. “This year, with our record crop, Chinese consumers will again have the opportunity to enjoy Washington apples, and our growers will have access to this important growth market.”

The Washington Apple Commission is the international marketing arm of the Washington apple industry and conducts promotions in over 25 global markets to drive consumer demand for apples from Washington state, which produces more than 90 percent of U.S. apple exports.

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

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

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

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

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

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

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

Expanding export markets important to moving increased Washington apple volume

The Washington Apple Commission continues with due diligence to promote exports of the state’s ever-increasing apple volume. “With the larger anticipated Washington apple crop, we are putting heavy emphasis on export opportunity,” President Todd Fryhover told The Produce News. “I can say all programs are fully funded and we’re hopeful to see a 20-percent increase or more for 2014-15.”

Buzz in the orchard is translating to excitement for a successful season. “With 140 million [boxes] on the trees, the first exports will begin right away,” Fryhover commented.ExportOverview1Last season, the Washington Apple Commission launched a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission) Movement to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan continues to be robust, and important markets are developing in Southeast Asia and Central America.

Fryhover provided some numbers that illustrate the importance of export markets. “The 2013-14 WA apple crop is approximately 115 [million boxes]. For [2014-15], the August estimate indicates 140.19 [million boxes], our largest crop, above the 2012-13 volume of 128.25 [million boxes],” he stated. “Thirty-four percent is our goal and has been the percentage in past seasons. We are enthusiastically working towards reaching this goal this season.”

Levels of increased production in Washington’s apple industry have been carefully planned. “Some of the numbers above might seem daunting,” Fryhover continued. “However, I would like to point out that we have been investing in more productive orchards, new varieties with a taste and texture for everyone, technology at the warehousing level and generally getting better and better at growing, packing and delivering high quality apples worldwide.”

Prospects are good as the harvest approaches. “I’ve been around a long time, and this is one of the most ‘even’ crop loads I’ve seen,” he stated. “Providing Mother Nature doesn’t create issues or labor is short, this should be a good season.”

Last season, WAC initiated a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. Export Marketing Director Rebecca Lyons said the program was highly successful. Lyons spoke with The Produce News to explain the concept of the campaign and the successes achieved.

“We wanted to create a region-wide campaign to engage our target consumers, women between the ages of 25 to 45, and appeal to their desire to feed their families delicious, wholesome food,” Lyons commented. “Using the reputation of Washington apples coming from a safe, clean and healthy environment, the campaign focused on mothers providing only the best for their families.”

Most of the promotional events associated with the campaign were held between November 2013 and March 2014. “Activities included specially designed point-of-sale material, display contests, consumer games and activities, in-store demonstrations and sampling, roadshows and other market-specific activities,” Lyons went on to say.

The countries targeted by the Mother’s Love campaign were Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. “Together, these countries account for over 4.5 million 40-lb cartons of Washington apples, worth approximately $ 93 million in f.o.b. sales,” she stated. “Although due to the smaller crop versus 2012-13, our overall exports have decreased by over 7 percent, these countries — with the exception of Thailand, which decreased 5 percent — have all shown strong increases this season. During the campaign, we saw overall shipments to the markets increase an average of 50 percent compared to the same time frame last year.”

WAC plans to expand the program within current Southeast Asian markets. “We are increasing the program reach beyond the major metro regions to appeal to consumers in outlying regions, which are experiencing strong growth in retail penetration and offer additional opportunities for Washington apples, particularly Red Delicious,” Lyons said.

Although Red Delicious accounts for approximately 50 percent of Washington apple exports, Lyons said Mother’s Love was not a variety-specific promotion. “We did encourage retailers to feature multi-varietal displays to heighten the visual appeal to consumers. We are seeing more and more displays of three or more varieties in the organized retail sector,” she said. “They want to provide their customers with choices, and Washington certainly offers a lot of them.”

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

Expanding export markets important to moving increased Washington apple volume

The Washington Apple Commission continues with due diligence to promote exports of the state’s ever-increasing apple volume. “With the larger anticipated Washington apple crop, we are putting heavy emphasis on export opportunity,” President Todd Fryhover told The Produce News. “I can say all programs are fully funded and we’re hopeful to see a 20-percent increase or more for 2014-15.”

Buzz in the orchard is translating to excitement for a successful season. “With 140 million [boxes] on the trees, the first exports will begin right away,” Fryhover commented.ExportOverview1Last season, the Washington Apple Commission launched a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission) Movement to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan continues to be robust, and important markets are developing in Southeast Asia and Central America.

Fryhover provided some numbers that illustrate the importance of export markets. “The 2013-14 WA apple crop is approximately 115 [million boxes]. For [2014-15], the August estimate indicates 140.19 [million boxes], our largest crop, above the 2012-13 volume of 128.25 [million boxes],” he stated. “Thirty-four percent is our goal and has been the percentage in past seasons. We are enthusiastically working towards reaching this goal this season.”

Levels of increased production in Washington’s apple industry have been carefully planned. “Some of the numbers above might seem daunting,” Fryhover continued. “However, I would like to point out that we have been investing in more productive orchards, new varieties with a taste and texture for everyone, technology at the warehousing level and generally getting better and better at growing, packing and delivering high quality apples worldwide.”

Prospects are good as the harvest approaches. “I’ve been around a long time, and this is one of the most ‘even’ crop loads I’ve seen,” he stated. “Providing Mother Nature doesn’t create issues or labor is short, this should be a good season.”

Last season, WAC initiated a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. Export Marketing Director Rebecca Lyons said the program was highly successful. Lyons spoke with The Produce News to explain the concept of the campaign and the successes achieved.

“We wanted to create a region-wide campaign to engage our target consumers, women between the ages of 25 to 45, and appeal to their desire to feed their families delicious, wholesome food,” Lyons commented. “Using the reputation of Washington apples coming from a safe, clean and healthy environment, the campaign focused on mothers providing only the best for their families.”

Most of the promotional events associated with the campaign were held between November 2013 and March 2014. “Activities included specially designed point-of-sale material, display contests, consumer games and activities, in-store demonstrations and sampling, roadshows and other market-specific activities,” Lyons went on to say.

The countries targeted by the Mother’s Love campaign were Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. “Together, these countries account for over 4.5 million 40-lb cartons of Washington apples, worth approximately $ 93 million in f.o.b. sales,” she stated. “Although due to the smaller crop versus 2012-13, our overall exports have decreased by over 7 percent, these countries — with the exception of Thailand, which decreased 5 percent — have all shown strong increases this season. During the campaign, we saw overall shipments to the markets increase an average of 50 percent compared to the same time frame last year.”

WAC plans to expand the program within current Southeast Asian markets. “We are increasing the program reach beyond the major metro regions to appeal to consumers in outlying regions, which are experiencing strong growth in retail penetration and offer additional opportunities for Washington apples, particularly Red Delicious,” Lyons said.

Although Red Delicious accounts for approximately 50 percent of Washington apple exports, Lyons said Mother’s Love was not a variety-specific promotion. “We did encourage retailers to feature multi-varietal displays to heighten the visual appeal to consumers. We are seeing more and more displays of three or more varieties in the organized retail sector,” she said. “They want to provide their customers with choices, and Washington certainly offers a lot of them.”

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

FDA Deputy Commissioner Mike Taylor to speak at The Washington Conference

Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, Food and Drug Administration, will present the keynote address Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the Breakfast General Session of The Washington Conference.

Deputy Commissioner Taylor will provide an update on the FDA’s rulemaking for the Food Safety Modernization Act. FDA has proposed several rules under FSMA that could have significant impact on the fresh produce industry and the safety of our nation’s fresh produce.

“We look forward to hearing from Mike Taylor about FDA’s new supplemental proposals, as well as FDA’s vision going forward in FSMA implementation,” said Tom Stenzel, United’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear directly from the FDA’s lead food official and one of the highest food-safety authorities in the federal government about implementation of the complex FSMA law.”

Taylor’s food-safety resume is distinguished, starting his FDA career in 1976 as a litigating attorney. He then served as FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy from 1991 to 1994, overseeing FDA’s policy development and rulemaking, including the implementation of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and issuance of new seafood safety rules.

From 1994 to 1996, he served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as administrator of the food safety and inspection service and acting under secretary for food safety. During that time, he spearheaded public health-oriented reform of the FSIS. From 2000 until his appointment as deputy commissioner for foods in July 2009, Taylor has worked in academic and research settings on the challenges facing the nation’s food-safety system and ways to address them.

“United Fresh values ongoing dialogue and cooperation with FDA about FSMA implementation,” said Stenzel. “We appreciate hearing from Mike Taylor at The Washington Conference about FDA’s work to make the FSMA regulations workable and effective for the entire produce supply chain.”

Also on Sept. 10, conference attendees can participate in United’s Forum at FDA, where they will have the unique opportunity to meet with FDA officials and ask questions about FSMA and other regulatory issues that are affecting their produce operations.

For more information about The Washington Conference, Sept. 8-10, visit www.UnitedFresh.org/TWC or call 202-303-3400.

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

Cold Train ceases expedited intermodal service in Washington

On Aug. 7, Cold Train Express Intermodal Service announced it would be suspending service at its location at the Port of Quincy, WA. Cold Train, operated by Rail Logistics of Overland Park, KS, developed a transportation model which allowed fresh producers in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of refrigerated rail service that moved commodities to Chicago, IL, and points beyond in a timely and efficient manner.

The port provided the physical facility, rail track, rail siding and loading equipment. Cold Train owned the containers and worked with producers to load and deliver commodities to the port.

The facility includes one million square feet of cold storage warehousing providing perishable and produce shippers with distribution, cross-dock and storage capacity in and out of Washington. Cold Train had an established track record moving fresh commodities such as apples, potatoes and onions.

Cole Jessup, who handles domestic sales at Columbia Marketing International in Wenatchee, WA, provided some producer insights to The Produce News on Aug. 8, hours after the announcement was made.

ColdTrainDuring a special work session held in January, members of the Washington State House Transportation Committee met with officials to discuss cost effective, efficient shipment of Washington apples into the Midwest. Seen here are Pat Boss representing the Port of Quincy and Cold Train, Pat Connelly representing the Port of Quincy, Cole Jessup representing Columbia Marketing International and Mike Durfee representing Diamond Logistics Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Cold Train Express Intermodal Service)“One minute, we have things up and running. The next minute we don’t. It really puts us in a bind just because transportation has been such a big issue over the years,” he stated. “Cold Train was a fantastic service. We just got the news yesterday afternoon. We are looking at a big crop for pears and apples and need all the transportation options available.”

According to data made available by Cold Train, use of intermodal transportation was growing from the Pacific Northwest. During 2010, Cold Train moved approximately 100 containers of perishables per month from Washington to the Midwest. By 2013, that number had risen to approximately 700 containers per month shipped from Washington and Portland, OR.

By the end of 2013, Cold Train anticipated it would be shipping 1,000 containers each month from the region.

Jessup said Cold Train made significant infrastructure investments at the Port of Quincy, and the service was invaluable to CMI. “Getting fruit to the market has been a chore, especially in the winter,” he continued, adding the trucking industry continues to suffer from a lack of available trucks and drivers.

CMI, he went on to say, is watching developments closely to see what action Cold Train may be able to take to restore service in the future. Jessup said CMI will continue to use Railex service to move fruit.

“The announcement by Cold Train follows a number of scheduling issues on BNSF Railway’s Northern Corridor line that have been occurring with BNSF beginning late last fall because of increased rail congestion as result of a surge of oil and coal shipments on the Northern Corridor line,” Cold Train said in a statement. “In fact, from November of 2013 to April of 2014, BNSF’s On-Time Percentage dramatically dropped from an average of over 90 percent to less than 5 percent.”

This past April, BSNF Railway announced an initial reduction in intermodal service out of Washington to one train a day with transit times being two to three days slower than prior timetables.

“As a result of the scheduling change in April, the rail transit time nearly doubled,” Cold Train stated. “Unfortunately, this caused Cold Train’s costs of equipment, fuel and other costs to double, and caused many customers — especially fresh produce shippers — to look for other transportation service options. In fact, because of BNSF’s scheduling issues from November of 2013 until present, Cold Train lost most of its fresh produce business, including apples, onions, pears, potatoes, carrots and cherries, which was more than 70 percent of the company’s business. In addition to adversely impacting many Washington State fresh produce growers and shippers, BNSF’s scheduling changes have affected many retailers and wholesalers in the Midwest and East Coast that purchase Washington State fresh produce and frozen foods.”

 

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

Cold Train ceases expedited intermodal service in Washington

On Aug. 7, Cold Train Express Intermodal Service announced it would be suspending service at its location at the Port of Quincy, WA. Cold Train, operated by Rail Logistics of Overland Park, KS, developed a transportation model which allowed fresh producers in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of refrigerated rail service that moved commodities to Chicago, IL, and points beyond in a timely and efficient manner.

The port provided the physical facility, rail track, rail siding and loading equipment. Cold Train owned the containers and worked with producers to load and deliver commodities to the port.

The facility includes one million square feet of cold storage warehousing providing perishable and produce shippers with distribution, cross-dock and storage capacity in and out of Washington. Cold Train had an established track record moving fresh commodities such as apples, potatoes and onions.

Cole Jessup, who handles domestic sales at Columbia Marketing International in Wenatchee, WA, provided some producer insights to The Produce News on Aug. 8, hours after the announcement was made.

ColdTrainDuring a special work session held in January, members of the Washington State House Transportation Committee met with officials to discuss cost effective, efficient shipment of Washington apples into the Midwest. Seen here are Pat Boss representing the Port of Quincy and Cold Train, Pat Connelly representing the Port of Quincy, Cole Jessup representing Columbia Marketing International and Mike Durfee representing Diamond Logistics Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Cold Train Express Intermodal Service)“One minute, we have things up and running. The next minute we don’t. It really puts us in a bind just because transportation has been such a big issue over the years,” he stated. “Cold Train was a fantastic service. We just got the news yesterday afternoon. We are looking at a big crop for pears and apples and need all the transportation options available.”

According to data made available by Cold Train, use of intermodal transportation was growing from the Pacific Northwest. During 2010, Cold Train moved approximately 100 containers of perishables per month from Washington to the Midwest. By 2013, that number had risen to approximately 700 containers per month shipped from Washington and Portland, OR.

By the end of 2013, Cold Train anticipated it would be shipping 1,000 containers each month from the region.

Jessup said Cold Train made significant infrastructure investments at the Port of Quincy, and the service was invaluable to CMI. “Getting fruit to the market has been a chore, especially in the winter,” he continued, adding the trucking industry continues to suffer from a lack of available trucks and drivers.

CMI, he went on to say, is watching developments closely to see what action Cold Train may be able to take to restore service in the future. Jessup said CMI will continue to use Railex service to move fruit.

“The announcement by Cold Train follows a number of scheduling issues on BNSF Railway’s Northern Corridor line that have been occurring with BNSF beginning late last fall because of increased rail congestion as result of a surge of oil and coal shipments on the Northern Corridor line,” Cold Train said in a statement. “In fact, from November of 2013 to April of 2014, BNSF’s On-Time Percentage dramatically dropped from an average of over 90 percent to less than 5 percent.”

This past April, BSNF Railway announced an initial reduction in intermodal service out of Washington to one train a day with transit times being two to three days slower than prior timetables.

“As a result of the scheduling change in April, the rail transit time nearly doubled,” Cold Train stated. “Unfortunately, this caused Cold Train’s costs of equipment, fuel and other costs to double, and caused many customers — especially fresh produce shippers — to look for other transportation service options. In fact, because of BNSF’s scheduling issues from November of 2013 until present, Cold Train lost most of its fresh produce business, including apples, onions, pears, potatoes, carrots and cherries, which was more than 70 percent of the company’s business. In addition to adversely impacting many Washington State fresh produce growers and shippers, BNSF’s scheduling changes have affected many retailers and wholesalers in the Midwest and East Coast that purchase Washington State fresh produce and frozen foods.”

 

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

Cold Train ceases expedited intermodal service in Washington

On Aug. 7, Cold Train Express Intermodal Service announced it would be suspending service at its location at the Port of Quincy, WA. Cold Train, operated by Rail Logistics of Overland Park, KS, developed a transportation model which allowed fresh producers in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of refrigerated rail service that moved commodities to Chicago, IL, and points beyond in a timely and efficient manner.

The port provided the physical facility, rail track, rail siding and loading equipment. Cold Train owned the containers and worked with producers to load and deliver commodities to the port.

The facility includes one million square feet of cold storage warehousing providing perishable and produce shippers with distribution, cross-dock and storage capacity in and out of Washington. Cold Train had an established track record moving fresh commodities such as apples, potatoes and onions.

Cole Jessup, who handles domestic sales at Columbia Marketing International in Wenatchee, WA, provided some producer insights to The Produce News on Aug. 8, hours after the announcement was made.

ColdTrainDuring a special work session held in January, members of the Washington State House Transportation Committee met with officials to discuss cost effective, efficient shipment of Washington apples into the Midwest. Seen here are Pat Boss representing the Port of Quincy and Cold Train, Pat Connelly representing the Port of Quincy, Cole Jessup representing Columbia Marketing International and Mike Durfee representing Diamond Logistics Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Cold Train Express Intermodal Service)“One minute, we have things up and running. The next minute we don’t. It really puts us in a bind just because transportation has been such a big issue over the years,” he stated. “Cold Train was a fantastic service. We just got the news yesterday afternoon. We are looking at a big crop for pears and apples and need all the transportation options available.”

According to data made available by Cold Train, use of intermodal transportation was growing from the Pacific Northwest. During 2010, Cold Train moved approximately 100 containers of perishables per month from Washington to the Midwest. By 2013, that number had risen to approximately 700 containers per month shipped from Washington and Portland, OR.

By the end of 2013, Cold Train anticipated it would be shipping 1,000 containers each month from the region.

Jessup said Cold Train made significant infrastructure investments at the Port of Quincy, and the service was invaluable to CMI. “Getting fruit to the market has been a chore, especially in the winter,” he continued, adding the trucking industry continues to suffer from a lack of available trucks and drivers.

CMI, he went on to say, is watching developments closely to see what action Cold Train may be able to take to restore service in the future. Jessup said CMI will continue to use Railex service to move fruit.

“The announcement by Cold Train follows a number of scheduling issues on BNSF Railway’s Northern Corridor line that have been occurring with BNSF beginning late last fall because of increased rail congestion as result of a surge of oil and coal shipments on the Northern Corridor line,” Cold Train said in a statement. “In fact, from November of 2013 to April of 2014, BNSF’s On-Time Percentage dramatically dropped from an average of over 90 percent to less than 5 percent.”

This past April, BSNF Railway announced an initial reduction in intermodal service out of Washington to one train a day with transit times being two to three days slower than prior timetables.

“As a result of the scheduling change in April, the rail transit time nearly doubled,” Cold Train stated. “Unfortunately, this caused Cold Train’s costs of equipment, fuel and other costs to double, and caused many customers — especially fresh produce shippers — to look for other transportation service options. In fact, because of BNSF’s scheduling issues from November of 2013 until present, Cold Train lost most of its fresh produce business, including apples, onions, pears, potatoes, carrots and cherries, which was more than 70 percent of the company’s business. In addition to adversely impacting many Washington State fresh produce growers and shippers, BNSF’s scheduling changes have affected many retailers and wholesalers in the Midwest and East Coast that purchase Washington State fresh produce and frozen foods.”

 

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