March 2014 NAPAR Homepage

CONSUMERS PRODUCE SOLD

Long time NAPAR Board member Alan Siger has sold his business, Consumers Produce Co., Inc., to Coosemans Worldwide.  The acquisition gives Coosemans the first class, Mid-Atlantic states distribution center it has been seeking. The new company will operate under the name of Consumer Fresh Produce, Inc.  More importantly, Alan will stay on with the new company as a Senior Advisor.  Alan has been a tremendously supportive member of NAPAR's Board and it is our most sincere wish that Coosemans finds value in letting him continue to serve on our Board.

EXTENDED DEADLINES FOR FSMA FINAL RULES

The FDA reached a settlement with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Center for Environmental Health regarding the deadlines for publishing final rules to implement FSMA. These two NGOs had filed suit against the FDA in order to get the complex rules published. The new agreement basically extends and staggers the final rule deadlines, which were previously set, beyond the June 2015 date set by the U.S. District Court of Northern California last year. In exchange, the FDA will drop its Ninth Circuit appeal in the dispute with these two organizations.

FYI – the new deadlines are August 30, 2015 for preventive controls for human food and preventive controls for animal food; October 31, 2015, for produce safety, the foreign supplier verification program, and third-party accreditation; March 31, 2016 , for sanitary transportation; and May 30, 2016 for intentional adulteration. The agreement also eliminates any prior deadlines for public comments periods, which CFS previously says will now allow for “more robust public participation throughout the rulemaking process.”

And just recently, the OSHA publicly posted its interim final rule regarding the employee protection (whistleblower) provision of FSMA. That section of FSMA ensures that employees of an “entity engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding, or importation of food” are protected against retaliating for reporting a violation of FSMA. This interim final rule was effective as of February 13, 2014 and comments can be submitted until April 14, 2014.

ORGANICS – EXPECT TO SEE MORE SOLD

The recently signed Farm Bill contained a section that the organic food industry scored a touchdown on including a provision that clears the way for the USDA to establish a checkoff program for organic food, similar to the ones now in place for a number of individual commodities like milk (Got Milk), beef (Where's the beef), honey and mangoes. However, the proposed checkoff program will still require a vote of producers and processors, which is often one of the most controversial parts of the process. If everything goes according to plan, you can expect to eventually see millions of dollars spent on marketing efforts to convince the U.S. shopper to purchase organic products. It is interesting to note that during the Congressional debate on the farm bill and the organic checkoff issue, some lawmakers raised concerns that the checkoff marketing would disparage conventional foods. Maybe. Maybe not.

ONLY MONTHS AWAY

The 2014 NAPAR Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament is slated for Saturday, May 17th, 2014 at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, New Jersey . A complete packet of registration information is being developed and will be mailed via USPS and also e-mailed to NAPAR members and other industry veterans. Please reserve the date on your personal calendars at this time. In addition to golf and the prizes given the winners the event will also have an exciting raffle, featuring both cash and other top prizes totaling over $6,000.

PRESIDENT ORDERS BETTER FUEL EFFICIENCY FOR TRUCKS

The President recently made good on a promise from his State of the Union address and ordered the implementation of new fuel-efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks by March 2016. The President discussed his expectation last month at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and wants the EPA and the DOT to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking by March 2015. These new, tougher fuel standards will certainly increase operating and transportation costs in the produce industry.

BRIGHTFARMS, INC. AND GIANT FOOD OF LANDOVER

The FDA has published a proposed rule that would require shippers, receivers and other carriers, who move food by motor or rail, to take steps to prevent contamination of their cargoes. Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until May 31. Final rules are to be published by March 31, 2016. With ties to the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005, the regulation is the seventh and last major rule required by FSMA. The proposed regulation establishes standards for sanitary transportation practices, including proper refrigeration, adequate cleaning procedures and protecting food during transportation. A public meeting to hear comments about the new, proposed regulation will be held in College Park, Maryland on March 20th.

 

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • Vegetarian diets are associated with lower blood pressure, and as such, could be used to reduce blood pressure and heart disease risk, say researchers from the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center. While NAPAR members knew that, any news that promotes eating more produce is beneficial to our business. The researchers further stated that additional studies are now required to clarify which types of vegetarian diets are most strongly associated with lower blood pressure.

  • A new report from USDA states that more than 30 percent of U.S. food available at the retail and consumer levels goes uneaten, and that the ratio of waste is even greater for fresh fruits and vegetables. With a 19 percent share of total food loss, vegetables are the second largest source of U.S. food waste after meat, poultry and fish. It is interesting to note that the Montgomery County Council (Maryland), has completed a year-long study on food waste and ways to address reducing it. The report's authors stated food waste cannot be entirely eliminated, but food loss can be trimmed, perhaps by industry-lead initiatives or new government programs.

  • Packaged vegetables are growing more and more popular with U.S. shoppers. Grab-and-go fresh-cut produce is an important component of the convenience trend and consumers are demanding single-serve packaging and sizes. Health-conscious shoppers are also looking in the produce aisles for fresh-cut veggies for snacks. Packs of carrots, celery, broccoli, and grape tomatoes , once considered only for party trays are growing more popular with shoppers.

  • Imports of fruit will account for about half of total per capita U.S. fruit and nut use by 2023, while imported vegetables will make up 25 percent of per capita vegetable use. These new projections from the USDA’s Economic Research Service compare with 2013 levels of a 42 percent import share for fruits and nuts and a 19 percent import share for vegetable per capita use. “Use” refers to all fresh produce grown/imported and shipped in the U.S.; actual consumption is lower after shrink and other losses are considered. U.S. fresh vegetable imports will grow from $6.5 billion in 2013 to $11.3 billion by 2023, fresh vegetable exports will climb from $2.3 billion in 2013 to $3.1 billion by 2023. U.S. fresh fruit imports will rise from $8.3 billion in 2013 to $13.4 billion by 2023; fresh fruit exports will rise from $5.01 billion in 2013 to $7.44 billion by 2023. Other projections are that all domestic and imported fruits, nuts and vegetables will expand by an average rate of 1.2 percent a year through 2023.

  • The U.S. is losing farmland at a slower rate, but the number of farms has continued to dwindle in all but a handful of major agricultural states, according to preliminary 2012 agricultural census data released two weeks ago. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack blamed the overall loss of farms in part on drought and other disasters during the period of between 2007 and 2012.

  • BrightFarms, Inc. and local Giant Food are entering a path-breaking partnership to deliver year-round local produce to Giant stores throughout the Washington, D.C. area with the construction of a 100,000 square foot facility slated to be the largest urban greenhouse of its kind in the world. BrightFarms anticipates completing the greenhouse and delivering produce to Giant store shelves sometime this Fall.

For more information about NAPAR, Membership, the Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament, or this Newsletter contact
John Motley at jmotley@policy-solutions.net

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North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
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