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Romaine Crisis Creates Anxiety For Local Farmers, But False Claims About Food Safety Hurt The Industry UC Researcher Trevor Suslow Lays Down The Facts Very often the produce industry can be its own worst enemy. Because the crop is perishable, and few growers are national or global producers, there is a constant desire to differentiate various growing regions. Every so often these efforts move into food safety and dubious science. To make sure that the science is clear, we shared this piece with Trevor Suslow at UC Davis and asked him to provide a science-based assessment of these claims, while understanding the urgent desire of non-Yuma growers to differentiate themselves. 5/22/2018

At Upcoming Amsterdam Produce Show, Power Of Produce Researcher Anne-Marie Roerink Shows Ways To 'Get Produce Right' To Win In The New Disruptive Retail Environment One mega-trend that has transformed produce retailing more than any other is the move to data from intuition and experience. To make that data actionable, we need to transform it into insight, and few have helped in this effort more directly than the US-based Food Marketing Institute, or FMI. We are pleased to help gain international exposure for this important work by giving them a speaking forum in Amsterdam. We asked Pundit Investigator and Special Projects Editor Mira Slott to gain more insights by speaking with FMI’s analytics partner in this study. 10/31/2017 

Pundit’s Mailbag — Welcome To The World Of Retail-Imposed Standards following our two Pundits on the controversy between WGA and the Food Safety Leadership Council, we heard from several of our friends in the U.K. Their take was that of empathy for the growers. In the United Kingdom, it has been retailers that have led the drive to impose food safety standards on the production end of the business. If we as an industry don’t create a national regulatory program to establish a food safety base for all commodities from all sources, others will move into that vacant space and create their own food safety schemes. In the end, the produce industry may wind up thanking the Food Safety Leadership Council for clarifying the choice before us. 11/16/2008

Some Food Safety Leadership Council Members Back Down On Demands surely we can all agree that it is neither necessary nor productive for buyers to issue dictates to long-term, loyal suppliers. Now we’re getting word that some of the companies that had sent out letters demanding suppliers to conform to the new Food Safety Leadership Council standards are giving a reprieve. 11/30/2007

Cutting Through The Agendas: What’s A Buyer To Do? our pieces on the Food Safety Leadership Council brought to the fore the issue of the role of buyers in establishing food safety standards. Our latest pieces have also brought this thoughtful letter from a long-time force in produce retailing. Our correspondent’s letter is pointed and his experience is substantial, so these are arguments that must be paid substantial attention. Although we are concerned about marketing food safety to the consumer, by working through some sort of retail consortium, which the Food Safety Leadership Council may be the genesis of, there is much less likelihood of this happening in an irresponsible manner. 11/21/2007

WGA’s Primal Scream… And Dirty Glassesshowed that there is the real sense that buying organizations have plucked out of the food safety realm one aspect — field and packing conditions — and ignored the fact that they play a role in ensuring food safety as well. 11/16/2007

Back Channel Discussions On The Food Safety Leadership Council discovered several points about Council member’s enforcement of FSLC standards. Legal is behind a lot of this, supermarket CEOs are bitterly angry at the FSLC member companies, and the idea of one standard won’t survive. Quiet discussions will likely result in some changes. However, those companies that have requested vendor commitments to FSLC standards are not withdrawing those requests. 11/16/2007

Pundit’s Mailbag — Welcome To The World Of Retail-Imposed Standards heard from several of our friends in the United Kingdom, where it has been retailers that have led the drive to impose food safety standards on the production end of the business. Their take on the FSLC was that of empathy for the growers, as they have already been through this. 11/16/2007

Coalition Of Associations Seeks Dialog With Food Safety Leadership Council

reported that United, in response to pleas by some of its members, has led a campaign for a collective response to the On-Farm Produce Standards and has issued a far more temperate letter to the Food Safety Leadership Council. The new joint letter points out concerns with the FSLC metrics, the importance of the whole supply chain working together, and requests a meeting. 11/15/2007

Letters Bring Broader Issues To Surface expanded on the new joint produce association letter to the Food Safety Leadership Council (FSLC), which is much better than the one sent by WGA and raises some broader issues that the produce industry needs to reflect upon: minimum standards, all commodity/all geography standards and mandatory federal regulation. 11/15/2007

Are Buyers Willing To Pay More And Partner With Vendors For Food Safety? established that what the Food Safety Leadership Council companies must understand is that they can add whatever standards they choose to the base one, but they can’t expect farmers to make these investments without a commitment on the buyer’s part to give the business to those who meet these standards. 11/15/2007

Food Safety ‘Arms War’ Claimed As WGA Responds To Publix’ Demand For ‘Enhanced’ Produce Standards discussed Publix announcing its desire for vendors to follow Food Safety Leadership Council standards and the Western Growers Association’s challenging of the new FLSC On-Farm Produce Standards as unreasonable, excessive and scientifically indefensible. Here is a pretty good rule: Associations should try to avoid issuing public attacks on private companies – especially if the private companies are customers. 11/13/2007

What Is Wal-Mart’s Role In the New NRA Food Safety Standards? continued our reporting of the Food Safety Leadership Council’s new food safety requirements for fresh produce. The plan is for NRA to adopt these standards as its own and then unveil them at a conference in Monterey at the end of March. The plan could blow up in everyone’s face and the Pundit has three reasons why. 3/15/2007

Calling All Produce Executives Who Work Heavily With Foodservice although the Food Safety Leadership Council was established years ago, the group only sprung into real action after the spinach crisis and the Buyer-led Food Safety Initiative and now is designing standards that the National Restaurant Association will unveil at month’s end. The NRA is lining up 25-30 major chains to endorse these standards sight unseen! Produce people in foodservice related organizations must tell the NRA this whole thing is on the wrong schedule and ask them to do the following. 3/14/2007

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