National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

While the Perishable Pundit is killing megawatts of coal-fired electrons with massive treatises on the latest developments of the under-reported Namibian produce industry, there are plenty of other topics that warrant attention the last day of April.

For starters, someone from the “Sunlight Foundation” is casting shadows on the fresh produce industry. In a piece headlined “Produce industry blocking laws to improve food safety” on author Nancy Watzman writes “the produce industry has effectively delayed implementation of a law intended to improve food safety.”

 All this because United Fresh and other produce industry groups wanted a longer comment period for the produce safety rule.

 The FDA has received 465 comments already on the produce safety rule, and the agency hasn’t yet issued related rulemaking related to a foreign supplier verification program and accredited third party certification.

The FDA needs to publish the remaining rules and allow the industry to see all the proposed regs in context. The 120 day extension to the comment period is not long enough to try to absorb and comment on the implications of the regulations.

The Sunlight Foundation is in the dark when they say the industry is being obstructionist.



 I find it interesting that folks in the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group don’t tire of speculating about and ruminating on possible improvements to Wal-Mart’s fresh produce department. Check out the poll and thread here.


Also we started an “official” going to United Fresh show thread. Who is going and what are you excited about for the show?

John Toner of United Fresh has responded with several highlights of the show that attendees can look forward to, including:

• the opening Night Party aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, with Navy SEALs Skydiving Exhibition

• Breakfast Keynote Session with Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb

• Workshops on FDA’s new food safety rules, changing healthcare regulations and immigration reform

• Produce Marketing & Management Conference to better understand consumer needs and opportunities to grow produce sales

• Annual Celebration Dinner featuring Retail Produce Manager and Excellence in Foodservice Awards to nationally acclaimed chefs

• Women in Produce Reception honoring Lisa McNeece of Grimmway Farms


Speaking of social media, it is exciting to see The Packer Market grow. Look for more integration of that site with The Packer’s news site in the weeks/months ahead. Check out a series of blog posts about some of my most valuable reporter-related web resources and a discussion about the potato antitrust case.

The potato antitrust case is drawing attention in the consumer media. Check out this ABC coverage here .

One evergreen examination of antitrust issues and agricultural cooperatives, and with mention of the issues of the potato case, can be found online.

 More thoughts on potatoes in a later blog post. Also, I continue to be amazed with the growth of hort production in Peru, and I'll have more facts on that in a later post as well.