I see that UK retailer Morrisons won’t cross the line of marketing a “fake farm” private label.
 
The coverage, from Campaignlive.co.uk,  is headlined “Morrisons throws shade on supermarket rivals with pledge to avoid ‘fake farm’ branding”
 
The gist of it, though, is that there is no real impact to the chain since the story said Morrisons doesn’t have any own-label “farm” brands now. However, the story said the move could rekindle criticism of other retailers, notably Tesco, which a year ago debuted seven farm brands for its value fresh produce range, including Redmere Farms for vegetables and Suntrail Farms for imported fruit. Check coverage on that development here.
 
Those brands were panned by the National Farmers Union, the story said.  The NFU said the Tesco farm labels gave the impression the produce was grown in Britain, when in fact some of the fruits and veggies were imported.
 
"Authentic" is good, but I think consumers know that “fake farm” brands are exactly that. Does Target have an idyllic place called Archer Farms, flowing with milk, fruits, veggies and mixed nuts? No, but a private label is a way to create a more colorful marketing message and more consistency.
 
A head of broccoli with “Everyday Value” brand doesn’t thrill me; the same veggie with a Redmere Farms label is better.
 
If the private label product delivers - whether in quality, price, image,  community values - then it will succeed. If it doesn’t, it will fail.
 
For myself, I expect marketers to be “image-makers." I can give retailers some license to tell their story. It had better be good, though.
 
 
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In other news, FDA’s Jason Strachman Miller, health communication specialist at the FDA wrote an e-mail about a new leader in the food safety arena at the agency:
 
 
I’m writing to introduce Stic Harris, DVM as the new director of the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network. Dr. Harris comes to us from the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Md., and has distinguished himself in the field of public health in a number of different roles. He brings with him an invaluable mix of clinical, disease surveillance, and investigational experience. (see FDA link to the Harris bio here)
 
 Dr. Harris is excited to take the mantle of leading the CORE staff that has worked so hard to strengthen FDA’s efforts to prevent, respond to and learn from foodborne illness outbreaks.  
 
TK: Here’s hoping that Harris (see his LinkedIn profile here) is a quick study on fresh produce issues and connects with the industry's food safety leaders.
 
 
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On a related topic, Florida-based papaya importer HLB Specialties has issued another news release urging the media and consumers to keep “calm and educated” about the recent salmonella outbreak linked to Mexican papayas. Check out the full release here.
 
From the release:
 
 
Fort Lauderdale, FL – In light of the recent Salmonella outbreak of July 2017, one of the largest papaya importers into the US, HLB Specialties, is cautioning retailers and the media to make a clear distinction between the different papaya brands, growers, varieties, and countries of origin. The outbreak is limited to one specific grower in the south of Mexico, Carica de Campeche, and the brands they distribute. Papayas from Guatemala, Brazil, Formosa papaya and other Maradol papaya brands from Mexico are not linked to the outbreak and are safe for consumption. 
 
The company hopes to educate shoppers on the different types of papaya and to dispel any confusion that may have arisen from the outbreak. Melissa Hartmann de Barros, Director of Communications at HLB Specialties, notes “The safety of the consumers is our highest priority. We share their concern, but we also want to provide as much information as possible, so that shoppers can make an educated decision when buying papayas. 
 
Ms. Hartmann de Barros adds, “we are seeing a lot of misinformation circulating, including pictures of the wrong papaya variety being used when referring to the Maradol papaya linked to the Salmonella outbreak.” Maradol Papayas are the large kind, weighing approximately three pounds and usually have a fully yellow skin when ripe. Formosa papayas, also known as Tainung papayas, are also large and similar to Maradol in size and weight, but they are greener and ready to eat when only half yellow. The small Brazilian Golden Papaya variety weighs around one pound, is very sweet and ideal for personal use. Papayas are considered one of the healthiest fruits in the world due to their high vitamin content, especially vitamin C.
 
 
TK: Sharing information about the diversity of the supply chain for papayas may help remind consumers that there are plenty of delicious and safe papayas out there to enjoy.