This week, Consumer Reports released a “Buy/Don’t Buy” report on fruits and vegetables intended to provide consumers with information on how to make the “best choices” for their health and the environment.
In response to the Environmental Working Group’s release of its annual Dirty Dozen list, the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) posed a “half dozen” inconvenient questions to highlight the lack of science and conflicting information inherent in the list. For the last 20 years the EWG has inaccurately disparaged many of the most popular fruits and vegetables through the issuance of this list.
Western Growers Executive Committee and Arizona Directors, led by Chairman Vic Smith, President and CEO of JV Smith Companies, and President and CEO Tom Nassif, were in Arizona this week for meetings at the Arizona State Capitol. The Western Growers delegation met with statewide officials and legislators regarding several issues facing our members.
On February 25, 2015, Western Growers is hosting a webinar to bring our members up to speed on the current fumigant regulatory issues facing growers. This presentation will focus on the challenges related to the use and restrictions of methyl bromide, chloropicrin, metam sodium and 1-3 D/telone.
Japan has specific labeling requirements for products -- including fresh produce commodities -- that have been treated with post-harvest fungicides. Japanese regulations require the name of the post-harvest fungicide to be identified at the point of sale (These regulations only apply to post-harvest treatment and not when a fungicide is applied prior to harvest). Reports have indicated that these requirements have had a negative impact on U.S. fresh produce sales in Japan.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization known for its critical positions of the produce industry, released a new food database yesterday that places organic and conventional produce at the top of its scale that promotes increased daily consumption. Rating over 80,000 foods on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the best score -- organic and conventional fruits and vegetables received scores of 1 to 1.5, ranking them as one of the “best” foods for consumers. According to their own press release, only about 18% of the 80,000 foods being evaluated received the “best” ranking.
According to a press release issued by the EPA, a new active ingredient has been registered as an alternative to methyl bromide and other soil fumigants. Fluensulfone is a new class of chemistry to control nematodes and is being registered first for ground use on cucumbers, melons, squash, tomatoes, okra, eggplant and peppers (the Federal Register Notice is expected by September 19, 2014).
According to the EPA, litigation which made the agency defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and others has been settled. As the result of a stipulated injunction, the EPA is directed to reinstate a “no-spray” buffer zone to protect endangered or threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead. The buffer zones apply to waters that support salmon in California, Oregon and Washington and are imposed on the following pesticides: carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and methomyl.
Members of the Western Growers Board of Directors convened this week in Orange County under the leadership of Chairman Bruce Taylor to deliberate the top issues affecting the industry. High on the list of issues discussed were the drought and regulatory restrictions on water supply, food safety, labor union activities and immigration reform. Several standing committees featured guest speakers. Dr. Jay Famiglietti, a senior water cycle scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and David Orth, general manager of the Kings River Conservation District, presented to the Water Committee; Amy Wolfe, president and CEO of AgSafe, presented to the Labor Committee; and Dr. Jerry Baron, executive director of IR-4 presented to the Food Safety, Science & Technology Committee.
The Pesticide Data Program’s (PDP) 22nd Annual Summary for 2012 was released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The program collects data on pesticide residues in food. According to the report summary, “Over 99 percent of the products sampled through the PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide is not safe for our families, it is removed from the market. This system of checks and balances provides Americans with the safest food supply in the world.”