October 2013 NAPAR Homepage

NAPAR FSMA SEMINAR AND WEBINAR A SUCCESS

The NAPAR seminar and webinar held on September 18th and 25th, respectively, to walk members through the Food Safety Plan Builder and Template were a success with 19 member wholesalers represented.  A half dozen more members have indicated that they will use the recorded version of the webinar to educate themselves on their responsibilities under FDA’s proposed Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls rule. 

By now all NAPAR members should have received hard copies of both the Food Safety Plan Builder and Template.  If you haven’t please contact John Motley at 202 360 4949 to get your copies.  The Plan Builder is a valuable member benefit and would cost NAPAR members between $5,000 and $10,000 if they had a consultant prepare something similar.  NAPAR will also send you an electronic copy of the documents, if it has your email address.  In addition, we will soon be sending you a link to the recorded version of the webinar. 

FDA – FSMA

Fresh produce issues are front and center in the two-year program priority plan just unveiled last month by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition , a sub agency of the FDA.   Reducing the number of incidents and risk potential of foodborne illnesses are among the goals cited in the plan.  Many of the priorities are mandated by FSMA.  Among the 2014 goals is completion of projects related to the risk of microbiological hazards associated with salmonella contamination of fresh-cut tomatoes and peppers.  Also due in 2014 is the draft of a proposed rule on recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods to facilitate tracing.  Complete details on all of the priorities and lists of goals to help the government meet Congressional mandates are available on the center’s website at: tinyurl.com/CFSANpriorities.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

A lot of critical legislative activity on Capitol Hill (the funding of the government, the farm bill, nutrition issues, ObamaCare, etc.) is playing right in the hands of those who oppose immigration reform.  During the August Congressional recess, House Republicans took a different position on a path to citizenship, which was an indication that there was no consensus on the issue.  Now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has announced plans to spearhead a plan to advance reform with yet another bill crafted from prior attempts.  Her goal is to release the bill timed to the October 5th National Day of Action that is meant to mobilize grass-roots support and pressure House Republicans to take up immigration reform.   Many House Republicans are strongly opposed to a path to citizenship and cautious about doing anything that angers their constituents and are taking a piecemeal approach.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • According to data from FreshLook Marketing, the average price per pound of fruit increased for the 52-week period ending on August 11 by almost five percent when compared to the previous 52-week period.  Berry sales accounted for the largest share of total fruit sales. Average vegetable prices also rose.  For the year-long period ending on August 11, dollar sales of vegetables in the US rose 5.7% from the prior year, and pounds of vegetables sold increased by 3.5%. The leader in dollar sales increase was the lettuce category.

  • State agricultural officials are asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take more time to write the rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Their request came after a unanimous vote at the annual gathering of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.  The state agriculture leaders are primarily concerned with the produce safety and preventive controls rules.

  • Wegmans, one of the largest and fastest growing retail food chains along the east coast corridor, has announced that as of now, the chain will require all of its fresh produce growers to pass a Good Agricultural Practices inspection.  In 2008, Wegmans began phasing in the requirements for growers of high-risk crops like spinach and melons and expanded their program recently.  The inspection will now be required of all growers doing business with the company.

  • The Packer newspaper featured a major story about the Jessup Produce Market in its August issue and said that despite the almost 40 year old age of the facility, the Maryland Food Center Authority continues to invest in upgrades.  On tap for improvement are canopies that hang over two major buildings’ docks, upgraded security systems, and upgraded pest control systems.  On average, the authority invests close to $1,000,000 in upgrades to its produce and seafood markets annually.

  • In a recent story in Blueprints, the publication of Detroit’s Produce Market, NAPAR member Rocky Produce, Inc. was featured as one of the longest business partners at the Detroit Produce Terminal.  Rocky Produce was founded in 1957 and has been a partner in the Detroit Produce Market since the mid-1970s.

  • Organic fresh produce sales increased by more than 13% to $9.7 billion in 2012, according to the latest Organic Trade Association survey. Total organic food sales rose 10.2% in 2012, topping more than $29 billion, according to the 2013 Organic Industry Survey from the Brattleboro, VT, based Organic Trade Association.

  • Study after study continues to confirm the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables – but NAPAR members know that!   A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who ate at least two servings of fruit a week had a 23% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.  The study also illustrated the nutritional punch of healthy fruits such as blueberries, grapes and apples.

  • Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA’s Healthy Incentives Pilot project increased produce consumption among food stamp users.  The pilot project demonstrated that providing financial incentives to food stamp recipients at the point of sale increases the consumption of fruits and vegetables.   Under the test pilot, participants received an incentive of 30 cents for every food stamp dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables credited back to the Electronic Benefits Transfer card.  To expand the program, additional funding is being requested in the Farm Bill.

 

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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)
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 501 | Washington, DC 20004 | Tel: (202) 360-4949 | Fax: (866) 900-6099