Food Safety In the Produce Supply Chain

Food Safety is Paramount in Produce Industry

By Tim Hammerich, with The Ag Information Network of the West

Food safety is something everyone in the produce industry is concerned about, from growers all the way through the supply chain.

United Fresh Produce Association is a trade group that exists to empower produce industry leaders to join forces to shape sound government policy. California Ag Today’s Patrick Cavanaugh caught up with United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel at the association’s Fresh Start Conference in Tucson.

“We’ve got to do a better job in traceability We’ve got to be able to get to the source of these issues right away. You know, our products are grown outside in nature,” said Stenzel. “There’s no kill step. We don’t cook our salads. So we’re probably never going to get to zero, but we’re going to keep getting better in prevention and then we’ve got to do better tracing it back.”

That traceability aspect can be a challenge in complex supply chains like those of some fresh produce. But Stenzel says their members are committed to finding innovative solutions.

“So the grower/shipper community, they’re trying to figure out how do I prevent food safety issues. And we’re learning a lot. Every time there’s an outbreak, as tragic as it is, we learn from it. And that’s really what the growers are trying to do right now, is to take every possible step of precaution in how they use water; or how they use compost,” said Stenzel. Making sure that we’re not contributing to contamination. Wholesalers, retailers, everybody’s got to work together on those things.”

Stenzel said just about every meeting they had around the Fresh Start Conference addressed some aspect of food safety.

2021-05-12T11:01:45-07:00February 10th, 2020|

Pick Justice Action Launches Sweepstakes with $5,000 Prize

Pick Justice Action Launches Sweepstakes with $5,000 Prize

Today, Pick Justice Action, an organization of concerned citizens who support the rights of farm workers, launched a sweepstakes to highlight the anti-farm worker record of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. Participants will have the opportunity to answer questions about how Gonzalez-Fletcher failed immigrant farm workers at truthaboutlorena.com and, if they get every question right, will be entered into the running for a chance to win $5,000.

“The people of California, particularly farm workers across the state, have a right to know about the anti-farm worker votes that Gonzalez-Fletcher has taken,” said Pick Justice Spokesperson Jesse Rojas. “Despite her rhetoric, she has constantly stood against farm workers, and instead favored big labor union bosses. This sweepstakes is another way Pick Justice Action is aggressively informing the hard-working people of our state about the real record of Gonzalez-Fletcher.”

The entry period of the sweepstakes is open until February 27th. Learn more about the sweepstakes and eligibility requirements at https://www.truthaboutlorena.com/.

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Sponsored by Pick Justice Action, a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit organization with the mission of educating the public about the rights and interests of farm workers and general laborers, and to promote policies that protect these rights.
2020-01-30T10:57:51-08:00January 30th, 2020|

Act Now to Help Pass the USMCA

House to Take First Step Towards Full Ratification of USMCA

Provided by California Farm Bureau Federation

This Thursday, the House will take the first step towards full ratification of the renegotiated NAFTA known as the “US-Mexico-Canada Agreement” (USMCA). California agriculture exports $6.6 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico and supports more than 56,000 jobs.
 
Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017. After President Trump renegotiated NAFTA, the International Trade Commission determined that the USMCA would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and a positive impact on U.S. agriculture. An additional $2.2 billion in exports is expected once this agreement is ratified.
 
Congress must pass USMCA to preserve the proven successes of NAFTA while enjoying greater access to dairy, chicken, and eggs. The agreement has positive updates for fruit exports, improvements in biotechnology, protected geographical indications, and strengthened sanitary/phytosanitary measures.
 
All in all, the USMCA is needed to bring more stability to the volatile trade market. Please reach out today to your U.S. Representative to urge their YES vote on this important agreement.

Click Here: ACT NOW for USMCA House Passage

2019-12-25T14:06:59-08:00December 18th, 2019|

Action Needed to Amend SB1

Urge your Representatives to AMEND SB 1

From California Citrus Mutual

This week the Assembly will consider Senate Bill 1 by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins.

SB 1 proposes dangerous changes to how the state implements the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and will have devastating impacts on how water is managed in California.

The bill seeks to preserve environmental regulations against perceived rollbacks by the Trump Administration by empowering state agencies to immediately adopt the “baseline” standard in place before January 19, 2017 (the day before President Trump was inaugurated).

As currently written, SB 1 would lock in the existing biological opinions that determine how much water must flow out of the Delta to protect native fish species. This directly influences how much water is available to ALL water users south of the Delta.

The State and Federal agencies are currently in the process of updating the biological opinions, which will result in lower flows and more water for communities and agriculture. But, by locking in the existing biological opinions, SB 1 prohibits State from using the best available science to manage how water moves through the Delta.

Recent amendments do not go far enough to address the ESA provisions.

California Citrus Mutual and many other agricultural and business-sector groups have proposed constructive amendments to address these concerns.  The Pro Tem’s office, however, did not make substantive changes to the bill before it was passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday despite pressure from the Governor’s Office.

The Legislature will adjourn next Friday and it is imperative that SB 1 be amended THIS WEEK.

We are calling on our Assembly Members and Senators to urge the Senate Pro Tem to accept amendments to the ESA section.

Please click on the link below to send a letter to your representatives asking them to support amendments to the ESA section in SB 1.

California Citrus Mutual Action Center

2021-05-12T11:05:02-07:00September 4th, 2019|

SB1 Advances in Sacramento

SB1 Advances to California Assembly

The California Water Alliance announced today California Senate Bill 1, or SB1, by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), advanced from the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 1 will now be considered on the California Assembly floor before the Legislature adjourns on September 13th.

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), Vice-Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, shared with the California Water Alliance, “I am disappointed that SB1 was released off suspense file with amendments that make it much worse for farming and California as a whole.”

SB1 effectively declares that California would adhere to laws governing clean air, water, endangered species and labor that were in place in January 2017, before the beginning of the Trump Administration.

“SB 1 is bad for farmworkers, farmers, and communities throughout the state of California,” said William Bourdeau, Chairman of the California Water Alliance. “Our environmental laws and regulations should be defined by current, sound science, not petty politics.”

SB1 would freeze the existing federal biological opinions. Future permits would be subject to outdated science and ineffective federal baseline measures, thus permanently, constraining the coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the ç.

Action Needed

The California Water Alliance has led effort to demand that the California Legislature “Fix or Nix SB1”: https://californiawateralliance.org/fix-it-or-nix-it/. The California Water Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for an increase in water supply for municipal, agricultural and environmental needs: https://californiawateralliance.org/.

2019-08-30T18:16:06-07:00August 30th, 2019|

Preparing for SGMA — The Time is Now

It’s Time to Manage Your Water Assets

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

It’s time for growers to start preparing for the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, otherwise known as SGMA, and groundwater consultant Chris Johnson is here to help.

Johnson, owner of Aegis Groundwater Consulting based out of Fresno, stressed the significance of farmers instrumenting their wells.

“It’s good for them to be able to manage them as assets, and then the data is important to defend themselves if they find they are being lumped in through SGMA and not being effectively represented,” he said.

Being misrepresented under SGMA can be a result of an “index well” data measurement. Index wells are a method of measuring water table levels in the area. However, their location might differ from where a farmer’s well is—meaning the data may not be indicative of the water the farmer is actually using.

Some growers might be concerned that metering their well may put them at risk of exceeding a pre-established limit, but according to Johnson, the meters provide enough data to prevent this from happening.

“The flow rate from the well not only tells you how it is behaving, but it also gives you another number to evaluate what the distribution and application systems are doing, so it’s a check that is available for them as well,” he said.

2019-07-11T15:56:37-07:00July 11th, 2019|

Rep. Josh Harder: Trade War With India Must End for Almond Industry

India is Top Export Destination for Almonds, Worth $650 Million Annually

News Release

Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) released the following statement after India imposed retaliatory tariffs up to 70 percent on American products, including almonds. Rep. Harder’s district is one of the largest producers of almonds in the country, and India is the top export destination for the product.

Josh Harder

Josh Harder

“This trade war has to end. The president is shooting from the hip on his trade policy and it’s Central Valley almond farmers that are left holding the bag. India is our top export partner and we just can’t afford to take this hit. I’m going to continue pushing the administration and the USDA to stop this devastating cycle of retaliatory tariffs. We need to be supporting our farmers, not cutting off our markets and depressing our economy.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States exported over $650 million worth of almonds to India in 2018.

 

 

2019-06-18T20:59:02-07:00June 18th, 2019|

Proposed Legislation (SB1) Threatens Voluntary Agreements on Wate

Statement by Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition Executive Director:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Prior to last December’s State Water Board meeting, both Governor Brown and Governor Newsom took the bold step of supporting a completely new approach to water policy. With their encouragement as well as hard work on the part of scientists, farmers, environmentalists, and other stakeholders as well as the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Natural Resources Agency, Voluntary Agreements are nearly complete. However, all the progress will be lost if SB1 goes into effect.

As written, SB1 locks California into our failed regulatory system that has not worked for anyone and has guaranteed nothing but lawsuits and delays.

And while the legislation gives lip service to supporting the VA process, make no mistake about it—SB1 would result in the colapse of the Newsom Administration’s voluntary approach to updating California water policy.

It’s hard to overstate the break-through represented by the VAs. A completely new approach to managing water, they require scientific studies and put the new science into practice. They provide an agreed-upon amount of water for river flows as well as new environmental projects and other improvements—paid for by farmers, water districts, and other users—that will help get maximum benefit from the water.

In addition, all water users will have more certainty of water flow that is simply not a part of our current system. And probably most important, because the VAs are the product of compromise and agreement on the part of all water users, we can move forward today, removing ourselves from the endless cycle of lawsuits that has dominated California water policy. Real results will be felt now, not 10 years from now.

We hope the Legislature can find a way to join the Governor in charting a new path to smarter water policy.

2019-06-17T16:37:59-07:00June 17th, 2019|

Valley Water Management Ordered To Improve Facility

Valley Water Management May Be Putting Groundwater at Risk

News Release

The Central Valley Water Regional Quality Control Board has issued a Cease and Desist Order requiring Valley Water Management Co. (VWMC), an oil field wastewater disposal center, to either bring its McKittrick 1 and 1-3 Facility into compliance with water quality regulations or stop discharging wastewater at the facility.

“Valley Water provides a valuable service to the oil industry in Kern County, but discharges from the McKittrick facility must not put groundwater beneficial uses at risk,” said Patrick Pulupa, Executive Officer of the Central Valley Water Board.  “With this Cease and Desist Order (CDO), the Board has said that if this facility cannot be brought into compliance with current regulations, discharges at the facility must cease.”

In California, water and oil are co-mingled in underground oil-bearing geologic formations, and both oil and water are brought to the surface during production. That water is called “produced water,” which is known to have naturally occurring contaminants like salinity, chloride, and boron that make the water unsuitable for human consumption or to irrigate agricultural crops.

VWMC disposes of poor-quality produced water from the South Belridge, Cymric, and McKittrick oil fields at the Facility. The Facility has 163 acres of unlined disposal ponds where, according to the company’s recent reporting, 2.8 million gallons of produced water are discharged each day.

In issuing the CDO, the Board found that the cumulative effect of disposing produced water at the facility over many decades has created a highly saline wastewater plume that is migrating to the northeast, where it threatens higher-quality groundwater designated as supporting municipal and agricultural uses.

The CDO requires VWMC to complete a full characterization of the nature and extent of wastewater impacts, an important step toward protecting the beneficial uses of groundwater. If VWMC cannot demonstrate that its discharges at the facility are not causing pollution, the CDO requires VWMC to either upgrade the facility or cease discharging produced water.

For more details, visit the Central Valley Water Board’s agenda item.

The Central Valley Water Board is a state agency responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of California’s water resources. For more information, visit the Board’s website, https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley.

2019-06-12T17:03:37-07:00June 12th, 2019|

American Agri-Women to Meet Today

Federal Land Policies Will Be Discussed

News Release

Today, the American Agri-Women (AAW) is hosting its 26th annual symposium in Washington, D.C., starting at 9 a.m. with the focus on private and public land use agreements.

“Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” will be held at the Department of Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium, 1849 C Street NW, and is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required. The program may be viewed at https://americanagriwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Symposium-Schedule.pdf.

The symposium is hosted each year by AAW’s Presidents’ Council, which is made up of the organization’s previous presidents. This year’s symposium will bring together prominent land use specialists and the Department of Interior’s directors for an open discussion.

The event’s keynote speaker is Myron Ebell, Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Ebell also chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition, which comprises representatives from more than two dozen non-profit organizations based in the United States and abroad that challenge global warming alarmism and opposes energy rationing policies.

Other featured panelists include Brenda BurmanCommissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation; Harriet Hageman, Hageman Law P.C. in Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Dr. Andrea Travnicek, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Wildlife and Parks. A Department of Interior “Welcome” will be given my Susan Combs, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks and lead for DOI Reorganization.

2019-06-10T16:01:48-07:00June 10th, 2019|
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