National Editor Tom Karst 9:20 a.m. What inspires you every day? The sports page and Apple Jacks, you say? Check out the 365 days of Seth Godin blog post by Dan'l Mackey Almy for a delightful window into her world, not to mention sage marketing advice.
9:29 a.m. Fresh Del Monte's fourth quarter results were released today. Pretty positive results, it seems, in terms of profitability.
While net sales for the year decreased, gross profit was up because of higher selling prices for the fresh produce business segment. Some highlights of the report:
Bananas: Net sales for the year decreased 7%. Worldwide pricing decreased 1% Volume was 6% lower.
Other Fresh Produce: Net sales for the year decreased 2%, primarily because of lower sales in the company's tomato, pineapple and melon product lines.
Gold pineapple - Net sales decreased 3%, with volume down 7% and pricing up 4%.
Fresh-cut: Net sales increased 11%, with volume up 1% and pricing 9% higher.
Melon - Net sales decreased 8%, with volume down 23% and pricing up 21%.
Tomato - Net sales decreased 31%, with volume down 16% and pricing off 16%.
9:39 a.m. Check out USDA's Feb. 7 purchase award description for fresh potato buy
9:51 a.m Just add sugar to boost vegetable consumption? Check out the latest research that says just a spoonful of sugar may just help boost veggie consumption.
9:59 a.m. Check out the interesting Food Genius blog post on Understanding trend predictions: vegetables"
10:03 a.m. Wouldn't you love to see a real tomato food fight between Mexican growers and Florida growers? Check out this video of a town in Chile that officially sanctions an honest to goodness tomato war.
10:15 a.m. Exempt apples, cherries and pears from the produce safety rule's water requirements? That's what this comment to FDA said:
Please take into consideration the lack of risk associated with apples, cherries, and pears as it relates to water contamination. Obviously all these fruits are grown in trees and present an extremely low risk to contamination. Additionally, once harvested, these particular crops are processed through a highly regulated chlorine bath to mitigate possible contamination.
Most Northwest growers are voluntarily participating in the USDA GAP and/or Global GAP programs that require the annual testing of water sources and often times multiple tests per season. Steps are currently in place to correct an out of tolerance situation, thus aiding in the prevention of food borne pathogens. Necessary tools such as overhead cooling prior to harvest ensure that the grower can protect the crop from intensive sunburn and thus provide a high quality and profitable crop. Risk associated with contamination is minimal due to the aforementioned drenching at the packing facility. Incidents of tree fruit contamination are either insignificant or nonexistent, and these regulations are unwarranted. The overarching proposals in the current draft of this Act represent unnecessary and burdensome regulations based on industry data and research. Special consideration should be considered to grant an exemption to apples, cherries, and pears.