February 2014 NAPAR Homepage

NAPAR CHAIRMAN RECEIVES ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

NAPAR board chairman Joe Procacci of Procacci Bros. Sales Corporation and Garden State Farms, was presented with United Fresh Produce Association's Lifetime Achievement Award at the association's Winter Leadership Conference last month in Miami, Florida. In the photo shown, Joe is surrounded by friends and family at the event. Joe has spent his whole life immersed in the produce business and his company is estimated to grow and ship 20% of all the tomatoes sold in the U.S. He founded Procacci Bros. with his brothers in 1948. Joe has received numerous awards for his dedication to the produce industry. NAPAR is fortunate to have a leader of the stature of Joe Procacci and we congratulate him for receiving this very prestigious award and high honor.

FARM BILL PASSES CONGRESS

The House and the Senate have passed the compromise Farm Bill and sent it to the President for his signature. The legislation in its final form was extremely generous to and supportive of the produce industry, increasing the overall investment in industry focused programs by 55%. Many observers have said that this is a clear indication that produce has taken its rightful place of importance beside other major commodities in the Farm Bill. The State Block Grant program, the Specialty Crops Research Initiative, a new fresh fruit and vegetable grant program for SNAP recipients, pest and disease prevention programs all received additional funding, while spending on the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program remained steady.

LAST FSMA RULE PROPOSED

FDA proposed the last of the FSMA required rules – the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule – on the last day of January. The proposed rule establishes criteria that would require shippers of produce to insure that their loads were properly refrigerated, that their vehicles were properly cleaned between trips and that their loads were protected during transit. The industry and the public has until May 31, 2014 to comment on the proposed rule to FDA.

FDA WILL OVERHAUL FOOD SAFETY RULES

The FDA recently announced that it plans to make major changes to two key proposed rules under the FSMA and will publish revised rules by the summer of 2014. The agency said it will rework the rules on Produce Safety and Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls and reissue them for comment. It appears that the Agency is reacting to mounting criticism from the local and organic produce industry. The agency should still have time to finalize the rules by a court-imposed 2015 deadline.

SEVERAL FSMA RULES MOVE FORWARD

The deadline for submitting comments to the FDA on the proposed Foreign Supplier Verification and Third Party Certification rules, which impact all wholesalers who import produce, was last week. Thousands of comments were submitted. After they are analyzed, they will be re-issued and published as final rules. Depending on the final versions, produce wholesalers will either have to personally verify the food safety programs of their suppliers or have a certified third party do it for them. We anticipate that the final rules will be published before the end of the year. All of the FSMA rules must be finalized by a court-imposed 2015 deadline. Once again, your NAPAR President, John Motley, who has his fingers on the pulse of the complete FSMA rule-making process, urges NAPAR members to contact him with any questions they have. We have the resources to help you comply with FSMA.

ORGANIC HANDLING GUIDANCE

Last month AMS issued guidance on the handling of unpackaged organic products. If a business operation handles unpackaged organic products, it must be certified organic by the National Organic Program (NOP) . Also, the NOP announced an organic products U.S. - Japanese equivalency partnership, allowing each country streamlined access to each other's organic marketplaces. Learn more here.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • A package of $20 million in research funding approved by Congress as part of the 2014 Omnibus Spending bill for the benefit of the U.S. citrus industry, will largely be used to help find a cure for Huanglongbing, the devastating crop disease now endemic in Florida , and to help develop biological controls to keep the Asian citrus psyllid, which can spread the disease, from ever reaching endemic proportions in California.

  • Also included in the Omnibus Spending bill are a number of provisions that impact the food industry such as providing FDA with an additional $53 million for food safety and calling upon FDA to establish a comprehensive training program for FSMA compliance.

  • By the numbers – 49%. That was the import share of U.S. fresh fruit consumption in 2010-2012, up from 36.3 percent in 1990-92, according to the Economic Research Service (ERS). The rise in imports has supported increased consumption of fruits, including avocados and kiwi fruits, without necessarily cutting into U.S. domestic markets, according to ERS. Per capita consumption of fresh fruit grew from 93.4 pounds to 104.7 pounds over the same period.

  • The coming year promises to be a busy one for food regulation. Rulemaking under the massive FSMA law must hit several targets to meet a court-imposed 2015 deadline. Beyond FSMA, federal agencies are also slated to issue some controversial rules such as allowing GMO apples into the marketplace. If USDA declares that the apples pose no significant environmental impact or plant pest risk, the petition by British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits to grow its GMO apples could move forward. Northwestern apple growers have voiced loud objections to the petition. PMA and United Fresh Produce did not offer comments to the agency. And earlier last month, FDA announced an overhaul of two of the most scrutinized rules, the hazard analysis and preventive controls and produce safety rules, and anticipates that the reworked rules will come out this coming summer.

  • Despite affordable prices and high food quality, the U.S. tied Japan for 21st place in a ranking of the world's food systems. A report recently released judged the food systems of 125 counties according to four major metrics: food quality, abundance of food, affordability of food and eating habits of citizens. High diabetes and obesity rates in the U.S. brought down the U.S. score, ranking it just behind 20 European counties and Australia. Who ranked first? The Netherlands took first place, followed by France and Switzerland tied at second.

  • Various media reports issued last month in Canada focused on the fact that 45.8 percent of organic fruit and vegetable samples tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were positive for some trace levels of pesticide residues. These findings resulted in surprise and raised concerns among organic consumers despite the Canadian government's assurances that these organic products are very safe. And speaking of organics, the California Court of appeals ruled last month that consumers do not have the right to sue food producers for alleged violations of the Organic Foods Protection Act because such actions would undermine federal enforcement. The judges' decision states the USDA has primary jurisdiction to enforce provisions of the National Organic Program, including certification and compliance.

  • Food predictions for 2014: Vegetarianism is no longer just for vegetarians. While most Americans still eat meat, 47 percent of the country eats at least one vegetarian meal a week. Cauliflower, by the way, is the new brussel sprout. Plus eating local is going into overdrive, according to media reports. Restaurants and food markets have planted gardens and built farms on their grounds and roofs.

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

Return to top

North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 501 | Washington, DC 20004 | Tel: (202) 360-4949 | Fax: (866) 900-6099