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WASHINGTON — Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill this week that would merge all food-safety-related programs across 15 agencies into a single, independent food-safety agency. The two lawmakers have introduced the bill before with little success, but they’re hoping to gain support from fiscally conservative members of the new... Read more
Though some reports indicated that there could be a supply gap for strawberries in early February that would affect Valentine’s Day, industry representatives in both Florida and California do not expect that to be the case. “Supplies should be adequate,” said Shawn Pollard, who sits on the sales desk for Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC in Plant City, FL. “We are... Read more
Albertsons-Safeway merger complete
The Albertsons-Safeway merger, first announced in March 2014, was completed Jan. 30. Under the terms of the agreement Albertsons will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway. In December, the companies announced the sale of 168 stores to four separate buyers, as divestitures required in order to secure U.S. Federal Trade Commission approval of the transaction. Robert... Read more
United Fresh has opened the nomination period for the 2015 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, which honors the foodservice industry’s most innovative produce performers. The program, sponsored by PRO*ACT LLC since its launch in 2008, has honored 37 different chefs and foodservice operators for their exceptional work in incorporating fresh produce... Read more
Titan Farms brings sales in-house under new vice president
SAVANNAH, GA — Daryl Johnston made his first appearance here Jan. 9 at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference as the first vice president for sales at Titan Farms. Johnston had worked in sales at Southern Specialties in Pompano Beach, FL; B&W Quality Products; and Dole Food Co. He also served as a consultant on reorganization and business... Read more
MILLEN, GA — As Southern Exposure 2015 is expecting another record-breaking event, the Southeast Produce Council is also gearing up to welcome newly appointed board of directors President Mark Daniels. After seven years with Military Produce Group, Daniels in early January joined Global Organic Specialty Source Inc. in Sarasota, FL, as director of sales and procurement,... Read more
Meijer expanding into Wisconsin with four stores, more planned
Meijer is preparing to expand into Wisconsin with four stores that will open in the greater Milwaukee area this summer. The retailer has plans to open two to three new Wisconsin stores in each of the next four years. “Foundations are set, floors are poured and the walls are up at our four new Wisconsin stores,” Frank Guglielmi, Meijer senior director... Read more
Ambrosia apples go Hollywood in Oscars nominee gift bags
At the 87th annual Oscars, Ambrosia apples will step up as a first-time featured item in the official gift bags that non-winners in the major categories receive. Ambrosia apples stand out as the only fresh produce item to be included in this year’s gift bag and will join more than $80,000 worth of merchandise as part of the “Everybody Wins at the Oscars” nominee... Read more
The Produce Marketing Association Foundation for Industry Talent has announced the fourth annual Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence recipients for 2014. Steven Bindas of Chiquita Brands and Casey Kio of AMC Direct were selected by the PMA Foundation Tip Murphy Selection Committee. The scholarship is part of the PMA Foundation’s initiative to establish... Read more
Church Bros. adds red to salads for Valentine's Day
Church Bros. is getting foodservice operators to add red to their salads for Valentine’s Day as the company ships its heirloom red spinach to restaurants nationwide. Church Bros., a leading grower-processor-shipper of more than 500 fresh vegetable SKUs, is currently growing the exclusive heirloom variety in its winter growing region of Yuma, AZ. The company... Read more
For years, Vidalia onion growers have sparred about when their season should officially begin. Some say coming to market too early puts lesser-quality onions in front of consumers and tarnishes the brand. Others say no calendar can determine when a Vidalia onion is ready to market. The two sides squared off in court last year after Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service announced Jan. 26 that China has agreed to allow all apple varieties produced in the United States access to the Chinese market. The agreement was finalized during recent bi-lateral negotiations in San Francisco but comes after years of work. Expanding market access to China has... Read more
New England gets more than its share of Blizzard 2015
With winds at more than 70 miles per hour, the Blizzard of 2015 slammed New England with a major punch on Monday and into Tuesday. The storm was as ruthless to New England as it was kind to New York City and regions farther south, which only got a light dusting of snow as it passed through on Monday. By Tuesday Massachusetts was buried in snow, with predictions... Read more
The Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Training Kit has a new component specifically designed for supervisory roles and personnel who conduct daily field assessments. Module 4: Pre-Harvest & Daily Harvest Environmental Assessments addresses the industry’s need to train those responsible for monitoring potential environmental contaminants. “The development... Read more
Sky Valley heirloom Navel oranges now shipping
The second week of January marked the beginning of the Sky Valley heirloom Navel orange program, shipping exclusively from Cecelia Packing Corp. of Orange Cove, CA, and packed in the "Sky Valley" label. Just as terroir — the unique set of environmental characteristics including climate and soil — is important in the production of a fine single vineyard wine,... Read more
What was predicted by major news media to be the “Blizzard of 2015” on Monday, Jan. 26, trickled down to a brief dusting of snow across most of the Northeast. This left produce professionals grateful, but also in question of decisions made by politicians in preparation for what they believed would be a dangerous storm. Headlines throughout the day on Monday... Read more
Merrill N. Dibble has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Sun World International LLC. Dibble succeeds David Dever and takes the helm as the company embarks on a plan to strengthen its position as a premier grape breeder, producer, marketer and licensor. Dibble comes to Sun World from AgReserves Inc., where he served as its Bakersfield,... Read more
The Delhaize Group saw revenue growth during the four quarter of 2014, and the company announced positive numbers for 2014 as a whole. Frans Muller, president and chief executive officer, also noted that in 2015 the company will be focused on continuing to roll out the Easy, Fresh & Affordable strategy at Food Lion. Easy, Fresh & Affordable is a multi-year... Read more
Driscoll’s to advance global fresh berry growth
Driscoll’s, one of the world’s largest distributors of fresh berries, announced changes in the organization to further advance its global business strategy. Building on Driscoll’s industry leadership in food-safety standards, Keith Refsnider will now have overall responsibility for the development of Driscoll’s global food-safety standards as the global food... Read more
Chiquita, which was recently acquired by Cutrale-Safra, has named two new executives: Andrew J. Biles will take on the role of CEO of Chiquita bananas and pineapples; and Darcilo Santos was named chief financial officer. The new announcement comes on the heels of news that the company will be closing its Charlotte, NC, headquarters. Biles has held several positions... Read more