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April 2008

April 2008
  • Being Red or Blue
  • Cleaning Up an Industry Foodborne illnesses resulting from leafy green products have increased more than consumption over the past 35 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Country Fresh Since it's founding in 1999, Country Fresh Inc. has experienced an annual growth rate of about 40 percent year over year. The fresh-cut processor started with one plant and 20 employees and has grown now to six processing facilities and more than 1,000 full-time and contract employees.
  • Fresh Focus: Marketing Food Safety and Food Security Part II
  • Keeping Leafy Greens Safe The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement released its first audit report since the group was formed in 2007. A total of 368 audits were conducted between July 23 and Dec. 31, 2007, on the farms of the 116 members. The results show promise in a voluntary, industry-led organization maintaining the safety of fresh and fresh-cut products.
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Being Red or Blue

Are you in a red or a blue state? How about your county – is it red or blue? Every four years, we as Americans elect a leader after sitting through almost a year of in-party scrapping for a nomination, then sniping between the two parties for that desirable demographic – the uncommitted voter. The parties know they’re never going to change the minds of people actively affiliated with the other, so they go after the fence-sitters, those in the middle of the road that could be swayed either direction. It’s easy to get burned out watching candidates talk more about each other than about their policies and voting records. That’s probably one of the reasons for the decline in voter turnout in some demographics – just one among myriad reasons. But this election could be of great importance to the produce industry. Fuel prices are breaking…  » Read more

Studies point to deficiencies in food safety in leafy greens

Foodborne illnesses resulting from leafy green products have increased more than consumption over the past 35 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Consumption of leafy greens has increased over the years, but it does not completely explain the increase in the proportion of foodborne outbreaks due to leafy green consumption,” said Michael Lynch, a CDC researcher who presented his research findings at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, in March. Lynch and others from CDC looked at more than 10,000 foodborne illness reports from 1973 to 2006. During that time, 5 percent of illnesses were attributed to leafy greens, with 60 percent of those cases caused by norovirus, 10 percent by salmonella and 5 percent by E. coli. However, the per capita data showed the rate of foodborne illness was increasing more than the rate of consumption. “During the 1986-1995…  » Read more

New plant, products and people signal growth for processor

Since it’s founding in 1999, Country Fresh Inc. has experienced an annual growth rate of about 40 percent year over year. The fresh-cut processor started with one plant and 20 employees and has grown now to six processing facilities and more than 1,000 full-time and contract employees. That growth wasn’t an accident – Country Fresh has been preparing for it. “For the past several years we’ve been investing in infrastructure and investing in people, getting all the things in place to manage that growth rate,” said Doug Burris, director of marketing for Country Fresh. The fresh-cut business was started by Sam Petro and Bryan Herr, who had a combined 60 years of produce industry experience. They joined forces as Country Fresh Inc. to provide the best service to retail and foodservice customers east of Texas. Country Fresh processes a full line of both fruits and vegetables, and recently…  » Read more

Fresh Focus: Marketing Food Safety and Food Security – Part II

Last month, we briefly discussed marketing your food safety and security plans through your web site, newsletters and advertising. Let’s go a bit further this month and examine how you can “audit” your own facility and what one industry member is doing to promote their program. When making a presentation to a client or a potential client, they will ask about your food safety and security plans. Most companies are receiving visits by different independent third party auditing companies, so you might as well market what you are doing to address these important topics. When a decision-maker visits your facility to finalize a deal, these two points can make or break your business. Take time today, before these visits, to imagine you are visiting your own facility for the first time. Drive in and take note of things. Were you stopped by a guard out front?…  » Read more

California marketing board releases first audit

The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) released its first audit report since the group was formed in 2007. A total of 368 audits were conducted between July 23 and Dec. 31, 2007, on the farms of the 116 members. The results show promise in a voluntary, industry-led organization maintaining the safety of fresh and fresh-cut products. Audit Results During the 368 individual audits, the inspectors verified nearly 68,000 checkpoints. Members were in compliance more than 99 percent of the time, with each audit area scoring a compliance rate higher than 99 percent. Member companies were audited with a detailed, 23-page checklist that totals 184 checkpoints in five general areas -General requirements – Member companies must have a written food safety compliance plan, an updated list of growers and a written traceback program. -Environmental assessments – Pre-season and pre-harvest assessments are required that monitor the area around the growing…  » Read more
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