Louisiana passes strawberry label law

06/18/2010 12:16:14 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t report Louisiana’s strawberry acreage, but the state’s agriculture department said 89 growers in 2009 produced 870,475 flats from 397 acres with a $17.4 million value. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, a preliminary value of California’s 2009 fresh strawberry crop is $1.58 billion; Florida’s is $313.6 million.

Production, centered in the eastern area of the state north of New Orleans near Ponchatoula, La., generally begins in December and peaks in March with smaller volumes running through May.

Louisiana shoppers consume a majority of production, Strain said.

Marketing board member Kevin Liuzza, owner of Kevin Liuzza Farms LLC, Independence, La., said such labels should be on all foods.

“Our main concern here is for the consumers,” he said. “Consumers should want to know what farm their berries came from. Something sounds fishy if your farmers don’t want to have their names on their strawberry boxes.”

Mark Murai, president of the California Strawberry Commission, said the commission supports traceback to the farm level.

“The commission expects that the Louisiana regulations will be in harmony with ongoing national labeling and traceability efforts,” Murai said. “The commission continues to work with national and regional trade and produce associations to harmonize labeling requirements for all fresh produce.”


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