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Leading food retailers cutting food loss and waste in half

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:49
2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:49

A group of the world’s largest food retailers and providers announced that nearly 200 of their major suppliers have committed to root out food loss and waste from the supply chain. The 10-plus food retailers and providers lead the groundbreaking “10x20x30” initiative, with each having engaged at least 20 suppliers to halve food loss and waste by 2030.  

“The environmental, business and moral case for tackling food waste is undeniable. We need more companies to target, measure and act on food waste and publish their data if the world is to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12.3,” said Dave Lewis, chair of Champions 12.3 and group chief executive of Tesco. “The good news is action is replacing talk. 10x20x30 is a great example of how companies are working in partnership with food suppliers to tackle this issue from farm to fork and I now urge others to follow their example.”

The food retailers and providers behind 10x20x30 are AEON, Ahold Delhaize, Carrefour, IKEA Food, Kroger, METRO AG, Migros (Turkey), Pick n Pay, The Savola Group, Sodexo, Tesco, and Walmart. Among them are six of the largest food retailers in the world, the world’s second largest foodservice provider, and leading food retailers in regions such as southern Africa, the Middle East, and Japan. Combined, participants operate in more than 80 countries.

Mixing produce and drugs produces a $4M bust

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:03
2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:03

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility thwarted a smuggling attempt of alleged cocaine and methamphetamine worth $4 million in a commercial shipment of fresh produce arriving from Mexico. 

“Tenacity is the key in keeping dangerous drugs from crossing our borders,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. CBP officers are committed to upholding CBP’s ongoing border security mission, serving as the guardians of our country’s borders.”

On Sep. 22, 2020, a 28-year-old truck driver, a Mexican citizen arrived from Mexico at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor/trailer that contained a commercial shipment of produce. A CBP officer referred the conveyance for a secondary examination and after utilizing all available tools and resources, including a canine team, officers discovered packages of suspected narcotics hidden within the trailer floor. CBP OFO removed and seized 200 packages weighing 250 pounds of alleged cocaine and 61 packages weighing 105.82 pounds of alleged methamphetamine.

CBP OFO seized all the narcotics and the tractor/trailer and arrested the driver. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations took custody of the men while they continue with the investigations.

Ball’s Food takes safety to the next level

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-22 Tue 11:41
2020-Sep-22 Tue 11:41

Ball’s Food Stores announced the certification of 100 employees by the American National Standards Institute and the Conference for Food Protection.  Ball’s Foods employees participated in an intensive, seven-hour training course focused on proper food handling, food preparation and food storage along with food safety and sanitation standards that are required by the FDA and USDA through the Food Safety Modernization Act.

After passing the certification test, department managers, store managers and senior leadership earned accreditation and a certificate from the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. "The company is committed to ensuring all guests receive the best possible shopping experience in the safest environment," Gregg Frost, vice president of human resources for Ball’s Food. "Every Balls Price Chopper, Hen House Market, Balls Sun Fresh Market and Payless Discount Foods have at least one manager on duty during all hours of operation who are a Certified Food Protection Manager.”

Kansas City based Ball’s Food Stores operates 26 supermarkets under the Hen House Market, Price Chopper, Sun Fresh and Payless Discount Foods banners in Kansas City and surrounding markets.

$2 million of drugs found in produce shipment

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-21 Mon 10:20
2020-Sep-21 Mon 10:20

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility intercepted $2.36 million worth of alleged methamphetamine and heroin in a commercial shipment of fresh produce arriving from Mexico.

“This interception of dangerous drugs truly exemplifies the teamwork of our officers working at our cargo facility,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “CBP continues to analyze smuggling methods and utilize intelligence, experience and technology to keep our border communities safe and secure.”

On Sep. 16, 2020, at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility, a CBP officer referred a tractor/trailer hauling a commercial shipment of fresh produce for further inspection. The secondary examination included the assistance of a (canine team) and subsequently officers discovered suspected narcotics hidden within the shipment. Officers removed 162 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 85.63 pounds and 30 packages of alleged heroin weighing 16.22 pounds. These drugs are valued at $1.7 million and $649,000, respectively.

Avocadon't smuggle $6.6 million of drugs in produce

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-15 Tue 08:21
2020-Sep-15 Tue 08:21

U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility intercepted a load of hard narcotics consisting of alleged methamphetamine and heroin that was concealed within a commercial shipment of produce arriving from Mexico. The estimated street value of the seizure is $6.67 million.

“Significant narcotics interdiction enforcement actions like these have direct and immediate impact on the smuggling organizations who operate in our area,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/ Anzalduas. “CBP Field Operations maintains a robust enforcement posture while continuing to facilitate and process legitimate trade and travel, which is a delicate balance.”

On Sep. 12, 2020, a tractor/trailer hauling a commercial shipment of avocados arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility and a CBP officer referred the conveyance for further inspection, which included the utilization of non-intrusive imaging equipment. The thorough secondary examination resulted in officers discovering suspected narcotics hidden within the trailer. Officers removed 48 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 326 pounds and one package of alleged heroin weighing 2.41 pounds.

Metro cuts food waste while boosting fresh sales

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-09 Wed 08:02
2020-Sep-09 Wed 08:02

Building on its recent success in five Metro grocery stores since November 2019, Québec-based start-up FoodHero is extending its reach by deploying to nearly 100 Metro stores. FoodHero mobile application will allow Metro customers across Quebec to save money while providing stores an additional way to reduce food waste.

In today's context, customers are more than ever looking for ways to save on their grocery bills. The FoodHero anti-waste app can help shoppers save 30 to 50 percent off unsold products that are close to their expiry date and that remain fresh and fully consumable. After conducting a pilot project, which started last November in five Montreal stores, the results speak for themselves — nearly 6,000 orders were placed, representing more than 30,000 products sold via the application.

'Building on the success of our pilot project, we are excited to deploy the FoodHero program throughout our store network and continue our efforts to reduce food waste,' said Richard Frenkcuec, vice president, retail execution and customer experience, Metro. ' FoodHero complements our price reduction program in Québec that offers a 30 percent discount on products nearing their expiry date and provides us with an additional avenue to reduce the amount of unsold products going to landfill, contributing to our commitment to reduce food waste in our operations by 50 percent by 2025.'

Celebrate Mushroom Month with a #MushroomADay

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-03 Thu 14:10
2020-Sep-03 Thu 14:10

With consumer demand for mushrooms high at grocery stores throughout the year, the Mushroom Council will encourage consumers to celebrate mushrooms every day of September, the 30th anniversary of National Mushroom Month, by enjoying a #MushroomADay.

At the beginning of each week in September, the Mushroom Council will spotlight a select variety, encouraging consumers to grab two packages at the grocery store. Then, throughout the week, the Mushroom Council’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages will share how consumers can make the most of their purchases with recipes and other inspiration from:

Social media personalities such as @TangledwithTaste, @champagneandcookies and @vindulge Cookbook author Andrea Slonecker Dietitians including Mia Syn, Molly Cleary and Vandana Sheth Fellow commodity boards and associations, California Walnuts and National Turkey Federation

The Mushroom Council will also feature home cooks who share their own mushroom-centric dishes featuring the #MusrhoomADay hashtag. Varieties in the spotlight will include:

Week 1, Sept. 1 -4: White Buttons Week 2, Sept. 7-11: Crimini Week 3, Sept. 14- 18: Portabella Week 4, Sept. 21-25: Specialties

Whole Foods introduces food redistribution program to reduce food waste

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-01 Tue 12:05
2020-Sep-01 Tue 12:05

To kick off Hunger Action Month, Whole Foods Market announced Nourishing our Neighborhoods, a program created to expand capacity and capability for community-based food rescue organizations to move food from where it’s available to where it’s needed most.

Whole Foods Market is donating the funds to purchase 19 refrigerated vans, and donating two refrigerated catering vans, to community-based food rescue and redistribution programs to transport both perishable and nonperishable food to communities within 18 markets across the United States and Canada. The vans will provide recipient organizations with 20,000 pounds of rescued food per week per vehicle, donated from Whole Foods Market and surrounding grocers and retailers, which equates to 182 million meals provided over the anticipated 10-year lifetime use of each van.

“Nourishing our communities is a priority at Whole Foods Market, especially in these challenging times,” said Rob Twyman, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market. “We’re proud to put forth a food redistribution solution to reduce food waste and provide both perishable and nonperishable nourishing foods to our communities.”

Church Bros. launches new Green Giant convenience products

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-27 Thu 10:20
2020-Aug-27 Thu 10:20

Church Bros. Farms is expanding its value-added offerings to the retail segment with the introduction of five new items under the Green Giant Fresh brand: sweet baby broccoli, sweet baby cauliflower, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and sweet potato.

The Sweet Baby vegetable line includes sweet baby broccoli in an eight-ounce bag and sweet baby cauliflower in a 10-ounce bag.  Both vegetables are washed and ready to use with a 16-day shelf life.  

Sweet baby broccoli is sweet and tender from floret to stem and 100 percent edible, reducing food waste and kitchen prep time. Sweet baby cauliflower is a new sweeter variety of cauliflower with tender green stems that become brighter when cooked.

“These new items give retailers the opportunity to build a Sweet Baby category. Their uniform stand up pouches look great side by side on the shelf,” said Rick Russo senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The Cubed and Crumbled veggie line includes a range of hearty vegetables that deliver nutrition as well as flavor and convenience.  The Cubed items include sweet potatoes, butternut squash and spaghetti squash in 16-ounce bags. Accompanying the original Cauliflower Crumbles and Cauliflower Crumbles Fried Rice, the Cubed offerings will further satisfy consumers’ needs for convenient cuts of gourmet, nutritious veggies.

Retailer looking for direct supply deals as it continues expansion

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-24 Mon 09:47
2020-Aug-24 Mon 09:47

PARAMUS, NJ — H-Mart, a Korean grocery chain that was founded in New York in 1982, has ambitious expansion plans and is looking to make deals directly with growers to supply the dozens of stores it operates nationwide.

Gi Moon, who works in the procurement department for Lyndhurst, NJ-based H-Mart, met with The Produce News Aug. 14 at the chain’s location, here, to discuss the shift in its buying practices, which heretofore have focused on the use of brokers and distributors.

“We have plans to open four to five new stores per year, and along with that we are interested in making deals directly with growers as a way to get the freshest, best quality product at the best price,” he said.

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For example, Moon said he has been recently working with ProComer, the export promotion agency for Costa Rica, to procure various products from that Central American nation. He hopes to connect with other similar organizations and directly with growers in the United States and abroad to help satisfy the demand by H-Mart shoppers for top-quality fruits and vegetables.

Multivac identifies controlled environment ag as key market

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-24 Mon 09:37
2020-Aug-24 Mon 09:37

Controlled-environment produce packaging has become a new market focus for Multivac Inc., a German equipment manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in Kansas City, MO.

Multivac sells packaging equipment and materials to create the ideal produce packages. It specializes in food packaging and in recent years, Cem Yildirim, national sales manager for produce, has aggressively built a presence in the fruit and vegetable market segment.

The firm’s German-engineered technology applies a variety of options in forming and sealing equipment to create highly advanced modified atmosphere consumer packages.

Yildirim cites many advantages for controlled environment agriculture — "CEA" — to use Multivac technology. These operations produce and sell product 12 months a year through hot houses, hydroponics, and aquaponics.

Yildirim notes that even in the idyllic environment of some California growing areas, it is generally rare for a farm to produce and pack every day of the year. “When you’re harvesting and packing every day, it’s more like a dairy operation. The product just keeps coming and your packaging operation must be able to keep up. Every day there is more to harvest.”

Thus, it becomes highly cost-effective to invest in top-level, efficient packaging technology.

Stemilt reimagines bulk apple and pear sales with new tote bag

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-21 Fri 14:05
2020-Aug-21 Fri 14:05

Stemilt has reimagined a long-time grab-and-go produce pack to provide retailers with an eco-friendly way to easily display bulk apples and pears. Available this fall, the new paper Farm + Famous pack features a positive message that “All Farmers are Famous,” is 100 percent recyclable, and carries How2Recycle labeling.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the grocery shopping environment,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s senior marketing manager. “Huge increases in online shopping, fewer and faster in-store shopping trips, bigger basket sizes, and sales growth in the produce department as more people cook at home. With all of this in mind, we set out to create a sustainable package to help sell bulk — or random-weight — fruit in a way that is easy for retailers to merchandise and convenient for shoppers to grab and get on their way. The Farm + Famous paper tote checks all the boxes for selling bulk apples and pears in this uncertain environment.”

Each Farm + Famous tote bag will be filled with bulk fruit that has a PLU sticker on it for cashiers to ring-up at the register. The bag holds around four pounds of fruit and eight bags are packed in a Euro footprint box with a snap-on lid. Unlike traditional tote bags that are filled by produce department staff or by the shopper, the Farm + Famous tote eliminates additional handling and is ready to display and purchase as soon as it is set up on the produce floor.

DoorDash introduces on-demand grocery delivery, expands grocery partnerships

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-21 Fri 10:27
2020-Aug-21 Fri 10:27

As the pandemic continues to disrupt our everyday lives, DoorDash has been working to expand the products and services it offers to local businesses so that customers can access more of their favorite stores and everyday family needs on-demand.

"We announced our entry into convenience earlier this year with partners such as Casey’s, 7-Eleven, Circle K, Wawa, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, and we’re continuing to add more types of stores onto the platform that provide a new level of convenience to customers," said Mike Goldblatt, head of grocery and convenience partnerships at DoorDash.

"Today, we are excited to announce that DoorDash has partnered with grocery stores across the country, launching grocery delivery through the DoorDash app for the first time," said Goldblatt. "Customers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego and the Central Coast can order from Smart & Final. Meijer and Fresh Thyme are available to customers in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit and Indianapolis. In the coming weeks, we will be adding selection across the country with grocers such as Hy-Vee, Gristedes / D’agostino and more — providing more than 75 million Americans access to a grocery store on DoorDash."

In the Trenches: The diverse levels of produce shrink

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-14 Fri 14:28
2020-Aug-14 Fri 14:28

Did you ever decide one day to clean the inside of your refrigerator? The first step in tackling this chore is to remove everything and sort through it. In the shuffle some items may have gone past the use by date, others were simply forgotten about in the back of the crisping drawer and have to be discarded. Those in the retail food industry supermarkets know this as shrink.

The aforementioned refrigerator chore gets one thinking about all the produce spoilage that occurs throughout the system — from farms to consumers. In supermarkets, produce departments experience waste and the losses can often reach serious dollar amounts. Every percent of produce shrink loss is a percent less on profit, and when the profit decreases, that’s when management starts snooping around for reasons causing it. Shrink is usually one of the biggest factors.

Management holds produce managers accountable for their gross profit numbers. Whenever the gross profit is deficient, they usually want to know what went into the tank — meaning the shrink loss.

It’s true that most produce shrink exists at store level, but the fact is shrink does not starts and end in store. There are many factors that can contribute to shrink, thus produce managers should not have to take the full brunt of the blame.

There are a number of areas where shrink is initiated before product arrives to a store. This is the “invisible shrink.”

California Giant goes gold with zero waste certification

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-14 Fri 14:05
2020-Aug-14 Fri 14:05

California Giant Berry Farms’ corporate headquarters has been awarded Gold under Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) Zero Waste certification program.

The Gold certification recognizes California Giant’s achievement of diverting 91.24 percent of its office waste away from landfills and other waste outlets over the past twelve months.

Administered by Green Business Certification Inc., TRUE validates businesses’ efforts to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals, which in turn, reduces their carbon footprint and supports public health.

With TRUE’s holistic approach and step-by-step guidance from Measure to Improve LLC, California Giant committed to implement permanent process improvements to reduce their use of materials, encourage reuse and recycling and foster a zero waste culture throughout the organization.

“I am absolutely thrilled that California Giant has achieved this Zero Waste Certification. Especially during these unprecedented times, it is an outstanding display of dedication from our California Giant Family,” said Eric Valenzuela, director of food safety and sustainability. “Over the past year we documented, trained and literally climbed into dumpsters to reach the target diversion rate. Under the stellar guidance of Measure to Improve, the staff worked really hard to achieve this goal as part of our overall arch of sustainability.”

Fresh Del Monte Produce adds six energy efficient container vessels

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-14 Fri 13:52
2020-Aug-14 Fri 13:52

Fresh Del Monte Produce continues to fulfill its commitment to create a positive impact on the environment with the addition of six new energy-efficient reefer container vessels to its fleet. The addition of the new vessels — named Del Monte Gold, Del Monte Rose, Del Monte Harvester, Del Monte Spirit, Del Monte Valiant and Del Monte Pride — marks a new chapter in environmental sustainability for the company.  

The first of the six vessels, the Del Monte Gold, embarked on the high seas in July, traveling from Hong Kong toward the Panama Canal. Like its siblings, the Del Monte Gold has a full cargo capacity of 1,276 Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit with 634 plugs for 40-foot high cube reefer containers. Given the perishable nature of fresh fruits and vegetables, the air-cooled containers will maintain the cargo at specified temperatures, traveling in reefer mode with multiple temperature variants from -25C to 40C.

CPMA to support the delivery of Canada’s Surplus Food Rescue Program

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-13 Thu 10:19
2020-Aug-13 Thu 10:19

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and its allied partners across the food system are extremely enthusiastic to have been selected to support the delivery of the Surplus Food Rescue Program developed by the government of Canada.

CPMA is committed to reducing food waste and helping individuals and communities across Canada. Over its 95-year history, CPMA has been supporting charities, community organizations, foodbanks and others through donations and initiatives like theHalf Your Platecampaign to help provide healthy food to Canadians.

The Association is part of a multi-stakeholder network with national and regional representation working to execute this project. This collaboration across industry, charity and indigenous organizations will carry out the distribution of identified surplus food in Canada’s supply chain and match it through CPMA’s partner Second Harvest and FoodRescue.cato support Canada's most vulnerable populations, as well as others who, unfortunately, are now in a position to require emergency food donations.

“Historically, our industry has stepped forward when asked to support our community, and this year we have increased our efforts to support those in need, from our frontline workers to indigenous groups” said Davis Yung, CPMA chair. “I am very pleased that 10% of the product in this program will be targeting northern communities to ensure all Canadians are supported in these unique times.”

Green Giant introduces cauliflower breadsticks

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-13 Thu 10:04
2020-Aug-13 Thu 10:04

Green Giant, the iconic brand synonymous with delicious and high-quality vegetables for families, announced the introduction of Green Giant Cauliflower Breadsticks to its popular Green Giant Veggie Swap-Ins line. Green Giant Cauliflower Breadsticks, available in original and garlic flavors, boast a fresh-baked taste, are gluten-free and will be available nationwide in September 2020.

"Our Green Giant Veggie Swap-Ins line continues to grow in popularity as families look for more opportunities to eat veggies in place of pasta, potatoes and rice," said Kristen Thompson, Green Giant brand director. "The launch of Green Giant Cauliflower Breadsticks is a logical next step as they are the perfect way to add more veggies to an appetizer or meal. They are also a fantastic option for consumers in need of a gluten-free bread alternative.”

Green Giant Cauliflower Breadsticks are available in two flavors: original and garlic. Each pack includes six breadsticks that bake in the oven in minutes. Green Giant™ Cauliflower Breadsticks have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Seven tons of marijuana crosses the lime

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-12 Wed 10:16
2020-Aug-12 Wed 10:16

U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers intercepted almost 15,000 pounds of marijuana in what was supposed to be a shipment of limes. The narcotics have an estimated street value of almost $60 million.

At the Otay Mesa cargo crossing, CBP officers sent a tractor-trailer to the dock for further inspection after discovering anomalies during a scan by X-ray imaging system.  CBP officers opened the boxes and found large, tape-wrapped packages inside the many boxes manifested as limes. Officers found 622 large, tape-wrapped packages inside the boxes, containing 14,880 pounds of marijuana.  The narcotics have an estimated street value of almost $60 million.

CBP officers also intercepted 668 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a cactus shipment. CBP officers searched inside the crates of cactus pads (which are often used in nopales, or prickly pear, dishes and drinks) and found packages, wrapped with green tape, hidden inside among the pads.

“International drug trafficking organizations will use whatever means they can think of to try and move their illicit shipments into the U.S.,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers dedicate their careers to protecting our country by securing the border.  For them, these unusual seizures are all in a day’s work.”

In total, officers found 590 packages. The narcotics have an estimated street value of over $1.5 million.


Bad apples say $19M meth shipment is produce

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-12 Wed 09:35
2020-Aug-12 Wed 09:35

U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations officers at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility hit it out of the park again with the seizure of another huge load of alleged methamphetamine worth $19.8 million discovered in a commercial produce shipment arriving from Mexico.

“This is another significant strike our officers have made on the methamphetamine smuggling industry,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Large seizures like this one underscore the severity of the drug threat and show that our officers remain fiercely dedicated to upholding our border security mission.”

On Aug. 7, a 29-year-old man, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor-trailer containing a commercial shipment of produce. A secondary inspection of the conveyance resulted in CBP officers discovering 521 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 992 pounds concealed within the floor of the trailer.

CBP OFO seized the narcotics, the tractor-trailer and arrested the driver. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations continue with the investigation.

Listeria risk prompts citrus, potato recall

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-10 Mon 06:27
2020-Aug-10 Mon 06:27

Freshouse II LLC of Salisbury, NC, is recalling Valencia oranges, lemons, limes, organic limes, and red B potatoes because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recall was voluntarily initiated after the company’s routine internal testing identified Listeria monocytogenes on a piece of equipment in one of the packing facilities. "We have ceased the production and distribution of the product that was packed on the equipment in question and are taking corrective actions and continually evaluating our cleaning and sanitation regimes," the company said in a statement.

No illnesses have been associated with this recall to date.

Consumers can identify recalled retail products by looking for the brand, UPC number and, if available the trace number printed on the tag or clip attached to the opening end of the bag. The recalled products were shipped directly to retailer distribution centers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia and to wholesalers in Maryland and North Carolina (see table below). Click here to see photos and a list of recalled products.

Freshouse II LLC has notified its retail and wholesale customers who received the recalled product directly from the company and is requesting that these customers remove the recalled product from commerce. The company is also asking direct customers to notify their customers of this recall.

Cascades launches a new packaging line

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-06 Thu 11:56
2020-Aug-06 Thu 11:56

Cascades, a leader in eco-friendly recycling, hygiene and packaging solutions, launched its new range of Cascades Fresh packaging products for fruits and vegetables. Designed for producers, packers and retailers, Cascades Fresh packaging solutions meet the needs of this key industry while also addressing consumers’ concerns about the environmental footprint of their foodstuffs.

Through this new range of products, Cascades brings the circular economy to life by using different types of recovered cardboard and plastics to offer a full range of eco-friendly, recycled and 100 percent recyclable products to reduce the environmental footprint of packaging used in the produce sector. The products include trays made from a wide variety of materials and corrugated cardboard baskets, carriers and boxes as well as a number of sturdiness and leakproofness options.

$16 million broccoli shipment is mostly meth

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-06 Thu 11:56
2020-Aug-06 Thu 11:56

U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility discovered $16.1 million worth of alleged methamphetamine within a commercial trailer hauling a shipment of fresh broccoli.

“This is a substantial amount of hard narcotics that our officers have detected and seized from drug trafficking organizations attempting to smuggle these drugs across our border,” said Carlos Rodriguez, port director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “By preventing this drug load from reaching the U.S., CBP advances its border security mission, protecting our citizens and communities.”

On Aug. 3, 2020, a 51-year-old male Mexican citizen arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility driving a tractor/trailer that contained a commercial shipment of fresh produce. A CBP officer referred the shipment for further inspection, which included a non-intrusive imaging system inspection that allowed the officers to discover packages of suspected narcotics concealed within the trailer. The inspection continued into the following day when ultimately officers removed 1,561 packages of alleged methamphetamine that weighed 804.69 pounds.

2020 organics in review

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-05 Wed 09:29
2020-Aug-05 Wed 09:29

The Organic Produce Network has announced a virtual online event featuring Frank Padilla, Costco’s vice president and general merchandise manager for produce and meat, and Steve Lutz, Category Partners’ senior vice president of insights and innovation, discussing sales and consumer purchasing behavior of organic fresh produce through the first seven months of the year.

What a Year It’s Been, So Far…. will be a provocative and engaging virtual conversation about sales of organic fresh produce, how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered consumer buying habits, and the future of retail grocery as part of the exclusive OPN event on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 10 AM PDT.

Moderated by Tonya Antle, OPN co-founder, What a Year It’s Been, So Far…. is a complimentary online session available for all members of the produce industry. Lutz will provide an overview of organic fresh produce sales data across retail for the first half of the year, with Padilla discussing how consumer buying practices have changed during the pandemic and what may lie ahead in the future. Registration is available here.

Certified Onions Inc. expecting increase in pathogen testing

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-05 Wed 09:25
2020-Aug-05 Wed 09:25

In the wake of a voluntary 50-state recall of red, white, yellow and sweet onions originating from Thomson International Inc. in Bakersfield, CA, an increase in pathogen testing requests is anticipated by Certified Onions Inc. in Nyssa, OR.

Each of COI’s members undergoes sampling for off-label pesticide use and for maximum residue levels, and the pathogen testing is available on request.

Kay Riley, founding member and president of COI, said the pesticide residue testing service is utilized on approximately 80 percent of the onion fields in Idaho-E. Oregon’s Treasure Valley and can be made available to other onion-growing regions as well. And he said some of the area’s sheds routinely use the pathogen testing.

“I’m certain we’ll see more pathogen testing this year,” Riley said on Aug. 3, adding that E. coli 157 and Salmonella are the two microbials involved.

Tops makes changes to its produce departments

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-29 Wed 12:41
2020-Jul-29 Wed 12:41

At Tops Friendly Markets, social responsibility and sustainability have always been at the core of the company’s mission, upholding standards that ensure the reduction of environmental waste and energy consumption while providing its customers with sustainably sourced, high-quality products. So when the opportunity came to take a closer look at the packaging of its produce items to make a change for the better, it simply made sense.

Another way Tops produce department has committed to its environmental impact is its partnership with local growers like Intergrow, who is now the sole provider of greenhouse-grown tomatoes for Tops. Now instead of bringing this product from Leamington, ON (255 miles away) or Mexico (2,000 miles away), product will be transported from Albion, NY (45 miles away) or Webster, NY (75 miles away), 52 weeks a year helping Tops to reduce its carbon footprint, another testament to Tops belief in supporting local growers and reducing its environmental impact.

Traditionally produce from any local grocery is packaged on foam trays which is non-biodegradable, considered a main source of marine debris, and even during manufacturing is said to emit HFC’s or hydrofluorocarbons, which negatively impact the ozone layer and climate change.


ShopRite introduces Sally, the salad bar reinvented

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-27 Mon 23:36
2020-Jul-27 Mon 23:36

Customers at the ShopRite of Carteret, NJ, can order fresh salads with Sally the Salad Robot, which offers a contactless and individualized salad bar experience at a time when many people are looking for alternatives to traditional salad bars. Sally uses groundbreaking, advanced robotics and self-service technology to prepare and dispense made-to-order salads and healthy meals.

With a few taps of Sally’s screen, a customer can create a nutritional meal with favorite fresh ingredients that are safely protected in airtight, refrigerated containers. The fresh food robot contains 22 ingredients, including dressings, fruits, nuts, vegetables and proteins such as chicken, eggs and ham. Sally can combine two main base ingredients, up to six toppings and a dressing to make a custom salad, grain bowl or pasta salad. Sally also offers several chef-recommended recipes such as the Chicken Brown Rice Bowl or Cobb Salad, and users can view nutritional and calorie details for each ingredient. Customers can tailor that nutritional information to their own dietary needs by adding or subtracting ingredients from their order.