April 2015 NAPAR Homepage

ANNUAL NAPAR GOLF TOURNAMENT

The 16th annual NAPAR Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament is only a month away. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, May 9th at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ. Registration and a full breakfast start at 7:30 am with a shotgun start at 8:30. The awards luncheon, featuring an open bar and the raffle drawing, is scheduled immediately after at around one in the afternoon. Mark your calendars today so you don't miss this great event.

The golf and raffle prizes are outstanding. In addition to the usual, hole-in-one, longest drive and closest-to-pin contests, there are prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place low gross and low net teams. The raffle features top prizes of $3,000 and $1,000 in cash and thousands of dollars in exciting electronic and golf prizes. And you have to be present to win.

The cost to play is $325 for an individual and $1,200 for a foursome. There are also sponsorship opportunities, which include complimentary foursomes and significant recognition at registration, on the course, at the banquet and online. You can sign up to play or to sponsor online at NAPARgolf.com.

If you have any questions, call us at (202) 360-4949.

CALIFORNIA WATER RESTRICTIONS

There is no end in sight for the California drought and with the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an historic low Governor Brown has imposed mandatory water restrictions on residents of the state. The Governor’s announcement acknowledged that the state’s growers had already suffered and “borne much of the brunt of the drought to date” and, as a result, only imposed new reporting requirements on agriculture. Still, without any significant relief in sight the state’s produce industry will continue to suffer and prices for California fruits and vegetables are likely to rise. As prices go up it will open the door for greater competition fromlow cost produce from Latin America.

PESTICIDE RESIDUES ON PRODUCE

While the Alliance for Food and Farming has done a decent job in casting doubt on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, a new challenge to the safety of produce appeared in mid-March. Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center released a new report entitled Pesticides in Produce, which provides guidelines for consumers who want to avoid buying produce with pesticide residues. The report used USDA’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) to analyze pesticide residues in 48 fruits and vegetables and divided them into five categories from “very low” to “very high” determined by the risk to a three year old child. Based on its findings the report recommended that “consumers choose organic fruits and vegetables when possible.” Since the Pesticide Data Program finds that “U.S. produce does not pose a safety concern based on pesticide residues,” Consumer Reports justifies its recommendations by stating the PDP only sets single pesticide tolerances for produce that usually has multiple pesticide residues. The Alliance for Food and Farming immediately criticized the report as misleading, but this one may be harder to discredit because Consumer Reports has strong creditability.

PRODUCE IN SCHOOL LUNCHES

The battle between the produce industry, nutritionists, health advocates and the First Lady with the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and its private sector supporters over the requirement to include at least a half a cup of fruits or vegetables in school lunches is about to play out in an upcoming major legislative fight in Congress. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, first enacted five years ago and the source of the half a cup requirement, is due to be reauthorized this year. It will become the battleground to weaken the half-cup requirement. Under current law school districts are not reimbursed for lunches served students unless they contain at least a half a cup of fruits and veggies. The SNA and its Republican allies, who now control both Houses of Congress, want to remove the requirement and give school districts the flexibility to make that decision. The 2010 requirement in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has been a significant boost to the produce industry.

GMO LABELING BATTLE

A nationwide battle is raging between those who want all GMO products, including produce, labeled and those who want to rely on science and leave the labeling decision to FDA. Unable to make any headway in Washington the pro-labeling forces have tried to mandate GMO labeling state-by-state. To most of the food industry, which supports leaving FDA in charge, the state-by-state approach is unworkable and costly. To counter the state efforts the food industry, led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), has crafted legislation introduced by Rep. Pompeo (R-KS), the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would require pre-approval by FDA of new GMO products, give the Agency sole authority over labeling decisions and create a USDA certified Non-GMO labeling program. United Fresh recently announced that it supports this national solution to the GMO labeling debate.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • A third recent study has raised concerns about reusable plastic containers (RPC) used to ship produce being a potential source of bacterial contamination. The study was released by the University of Arkansas' Department of Food Science. The Arkansas study follows studies from the University of California-Davis and Canada's Guelph University that found bacteria residues remained even after the RPCs had been properly cleaned.

  • The Sysco-US Food merger is in trouble. The FTC has challenged the merger and authorized its staff to seek a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent it from happening. The Commission opposes the merger because the combined company would account for 75% of the national market for broadline distribution and reduce competition in 32 local markets.

  • Walmart is using its market muscle to persuade its produce suppliers to get on board with its efforts to improve working conditions and sustainability efforts on farms that grow its produce around the world. The company is asking its suppliers to take greater responsibility to ensure that their growers and shippers meet the labor and sustainability standards it has developed.

  • USDA recently announced that it was increasing the amount of funding it is providing to projects to fight citrus greening. It is providing $30 million to 15 research projects aimed at fighting and reducing the spread of the disease. The money funds research into thermotherapy, best management practices, early detection and pest control.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the city would invest $150 million over 12 years to revitalize the Hunt's Point terminal produce market. The money will be used to modernize the buildings and infrastructure at the facility, the world's busiest produce market.

  • The City of Newark, NJ, will become the site of the world's largest, indoor, vertical produce farm. A financing consortium has provided $30 million to AeroFarms to build the project in the Ironbound section of Newark. AeroFarms, the leader in indoor, vertical farming technology will also move it global headquarters to the site.

  • The Caribbean Produce Exchange, a Puerto Rican produce distributor, and the Gargiulo farm, the island's largest tomato farm, have launched a joint advertising campaign to promote local tomatoes. The tomato is a central ingredient in Puerto Rican cuisine. The campaign is called La Madre de los Tomatoes or The Mother of All Tomatoes. Walmart, Walgreens, McDonald's, Burger King, Sam's Club and Subway are all partners in the campaign. Gargiulo farm is owned by NAPAR Chairman, Joe Procacci.

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