National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Sitting in the KCI airport at 7:07 a.m., well past the scheduled 6 a.m. departure time for my flight to Reagan National. I'm headed to Washington D.C. to cover the USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum Thursday and Friday, and also to check in with United Fresh, USDA and others as time permits. With the start I'm having today, time may not permit.

Did readers check out my tweet about the Drudge Report link on the USDA's "cultural sensitivity" training. Check the link here.

From the Judicial Watch story:

A whistleblower reported to Judicial Watch that employees were required to bang on tables, chanting in unison “The pilgrims were illegal aliens” while being instructed to no longer use the word “minorities,” but to replace it with “emerging majorities.” Judicial Watch received the videos pursuant to a May 18, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.


It certainly doesn't look good to the unwashed masses to ask employees to parrot the phrase "the pilgrims were illegal aliens" but this story will probably die fairly quickly.

I notice the topic of imperfect produce is gathering some attention. Check out this story about a reception in Africa stocked with fresh produce that has been rejected by UK supermarkets.

From the story:

"Hundreds of ministers and high-level officials dined on perfectly good food grown by Kenyan farmers but rejected by UK supermarkets due to cosmetic imperfections at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi to highlight a major campaign to cut massive levels of global food loss and waste.

The zero-waste reception, taking place during a meeting of the first UNEP Governing Council under universal membership, was in support of Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint - an initiative launched in January by UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners such as Feeding the 5,000 and Messe Dusseldorf.

The campaign aims to promote actions by consumers and food retailers to dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year - which aside from the cost implications and environmental impacts increases pressure on the already straining global food system - and help shape a sustainable future."


This brings to mind a discussion thread on the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group. I asked "How can industry reduce food waste?"

Twenty one comments, many focusing on specific segments and particular solutions. But the question remains: are retail standards too stringent? If standards were relaxed, how much waste could be reduced?

Follow me on twitter @tckarst.