European Crop Protection Association criticizes International Agency for Research on Cancer Report

The Lancet Oncology today published conclusions from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that found five pesticides to be “possibly” or “probably” carcinogenic to humans. The following is a statement from ECPA Director General Jean-Charles Bocquet: “The IARC conclusions published in Lancet Oncology contradict the world’s most robust and stringent regulatory systems – namely the European Union and the United States – in which crop protection products have undergone extensive reviews based on multi-year testing and in which active ingredients such as glyphosate and malathion been found not to present a carcinogenic risk to humans.” “From the summary conclusions it appears that IARC has made its conclusions as a result of an incomplete data review that has omitted key evidence.” “The IARC rating is based on the intrinsic properties of active substances and limited epidemiological evidence. Where the full evidence is taken into account – and the evaluation covers actual use – there is no proof that pesticides cause cancer in humans. This is clearly shown by several studies on farmers’ health. Farmers (who are the most exposed to pesticides) live longer and in better health than the rest of the population. Cancer incidence and mortality is lower in farming populations than in the rest of the population for all major types of cancer but skin cancers.” “Europe’s crop protection industry will continue to work with regulators to ensure each and every product goes through the proper testing procedure and enters the market only when its safety has been assured. Conclusions about a matter as important as human safety must be based on the highest quality science that adheres to internationally recognized standards. The IARC classification system is not aligned with current international regulations and the organization’s recent decisions create needless public concern.”

Coming up: The Clipper – Layout Closing monday july 20

The 2nd issue of the most important magazine about global production and trade of nuts and dried fruit will be closed monday july. 20. If you have content contributions to make – or you would like to advertise please send an email to edit@agropress.com for last-minute additions. The issue will be ready for this year’s ANUGA – The world´s leading food fair for the retail trade and the food service and catering market.

Tri-Star Packaging to show ‘street food’ packaging

Innovative and environmentally friendly packaging for ‘street food’ will take centre-stage for Tri-Star Packaging at this year’s Lunch! show (24-25 September 2015, Business Design Centre, London). Exhibiting once again on Stand M101, Tri-Star will unveil its new Eco Street compostable containers for hot and cold food such as pasta, curry, noodles and salad. Perfect for street food traders, cafés, takeaways and caterers offering food-to-go, the Eco Street range is available in round, square and rectangular options, with different depths on offer, as well as platters. Eco Street containers are made from bagasse, a fully compostable sugar cane pulp that grows abundantly and is therefore renewable. They are available with ultra-clear heat resistant rPET lids made from recycled and recyclable materials and offering superb visibility and presentation – as well as excellent stackability. The bowls are freezer, microwave and oven-safe, so meals can be heated directly inside, and they offer good thermal properties to keep food warm. Meanwhile, for those times when vendors need to keep food hotter for longer, Tri-Star is introducing the new Taste range of kraft brown packaging for takeaway foods. In the range are fluted packs for hot wraps and sandwiches, food-to-go boxes with integrated lids, and pizza boxes with a unique window feature that offers great visibility.

4.4% fresh produce imports in breach of regulations, EU report says

Today, the Commission has published the results of border checks carried out by EU countries in 2014 on imports of fruits and vegetables that are subject to an increased level of official controls. The report presents the results of controls on almost 100 000 consignments carried out at EU borders. Over 11 000 of these controls led to laboratory analyses, which resulted in 496 consignments (4.4% of those that underwent controls) being found to be in breach of EU legislation and being prevented from entering the EU market. This is a slight increase as compared with 2013, when 4.1% of consignments were stopped at EU borders. Today’s report demonstrates that the increased level of controls on fruit and vegetables, introduced by the Commission Regulation (EC/669/2009) plays an important role in protecting consumers from potential food safety risks. Some products achieved satisfactory levels of compliance and were therefore removed from the list of imports targeted for controls:
  • Pomelos from China (tested for pesticide residues)
  • Oranges from Egypt (tested for pesticide residues)
  • Coriander and basil from Thailand (tested for pesticide residues)
  • Curry from India (tested for aflatoxins)
  • Dried noodles from China (tested for the presence of aluminium)
  • Frozen strawberries from China (tested for norovirus and hepatitis A virus)
  • Coriander, basil and mint from Thailand (tested for the presence of salmonella)
On the other hand, several new commodities were included in the list:
  • Aubergines, Chinese celery and yardlong beans from Cambodia (pesticide residues)
  • Table grapes from Peru (pesticide residues)
  • Vine leaves from Turkey (pesticide residues)
  • Dragon fruit from Viet Nam (pesticide residues)
  • Betel leaves from India and Thailand (salmonella)
  • Sesamum seeds from India (salmonella)
  • Enzymes from India (chloramphenicol)
  • Groundnuts from Sudan (aflatoxins)
  • Dried apricots from Turkey (sulphites)
Read the full report  

Global Melon & Watermelon Event in Spain

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On 8 and 9 July Rijk Zwaan organised the Global Melon & Watermelon Event in Spain, with a focus on global trends and how to fulfil the requirements of the whole food chain. Traders, retailers and dealers from 12 different countries in Europe, South America and Africa met at the Rijk Zwaan demo field in Cartagena and attended a conference at the local Chamber of Commerce. The event helped customers to find melons and watermelons with the all-year-round quality that they need. Fresh cut Rijk Zwaan Crop Coordinators Diego Maestre and David Herzog gave presentations about concepts in melon and watermelon, and how they can contribute to meeting consumers’ expectations. Marketing Specialist Vincent van Wolferen paid special attention to the fresh cut market which is developing strongly in the UK, USA, Spain and many other countries. “This year we welcomed a high number of processing companies who participated in the discussion about varietal development. Their input was very valuable for the Rijk Zwaan breeders who were also present.” Great potential The seminar also included a presentation by Celedonio Buendía, General Manager of producer and trading company Procomel, who shared his vision of the future of the market. Customer reactions to the event were very positive. Visitors particularly appreciated the networking opportunities and were pleased to see their belief in the great sales potential of melon and watermelon confirmed.

Queensland to spend $10 million to fight against banana disease

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The Queensland Government will spend close to $10 million in its forthcoming budget to boost the fight against the devastating banana disease, Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4). The $9.8 million allocation comes on top of the $4 million dollars already spent to contain TR4 since it was found on a farm in the Tully Valley in early March. Qld Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said he is determined to do everything possible to protect the $600 million banana industry. More information: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-09/bill-byrne-pledges-10m-to-fight-banana-disease/6608202 https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/plant-biosecurity/panama-disease-declared-pest

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Kiwifruit growers have ‘extraordinary’ season

With 69 million trays of green kiwifruit sold overseas, growers got their highest ever return per hectare of $53,884 and just over $6 a tray. Gold kiwifruit growers got $9.80 a tray, down from $12 last season. While boats are leaving New Zealand ports at the moment stocked with the new season’s fruit, Zespri has just released its results from last season. Zespri sold one and a half billion dollars worth of kiwifruit overseas – and green kiwifruit growers got their highest ever average return per hectare of just over 53-thousand dollars. 69 million trays of green kiwifruit were sold overseas. While tray values fell for gold kiwifruit growers, that is off the back of a massive increase in supply as the industry continues to recover from the dark days when the bacterial disease PSA forced many growers to chainsaw down their vines. Chief executive Lain Jager said it was a very good season for the industry. “Very strong green returns of over $6 ($6.01) a tray on a good volume of high taste green kiwifruit. The other thing that has been tremendously important for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has been the recovery of gold volumes – 18.6 million trays sold last year up from just 11.1 million trays the year before that.” Mr Jager said over the last few seasons there had been a significant contraction of gold volumes, and as those volumes had contracted then gold returns had risen to very, very high levels. “As volumes recover what we expect to see is reducing returns, back to more normal levels perhaps $6.50/$7 (per tray of gold kiwifruit) looking forward over the next few years. So this last year at $9.80 reflected on the one hand a reduction of $12 (per tray) the year before that, but on the other hand a very pleasing recovery of supply volume.” Mr Jager said returns to New Zealand growers were boosted after Chilean kiwifruit growers were hit by “devastating frosts”. “That significantly reduced their crop to perhaps 50 percent of normal volumes or even less, which meant Zespri was selling into a very open market last season.” Mr Jager believes the Chilean growers misfortune may have added 50 to 60 cents per tray to New Zealand growers. Lain Jager said the new Gold3 kiwifruit continued to stand up to the bacteria PSA, which all but wiped out the previous gold variety, and was being well received by consumers. Mr Jager said the industry was aiming to export 60 million trays of gold kiwifruit by 2020. He said he was aware that some kiwifruit growers, he believes possibly about 40, are looking to take a class action lawsuit against the Government over the PSA incursion.

Mixed reaction from growers

Bay of Plenty kiwifruit grower Rob Thode said he was appalled at the return he was getting from Zespri and the company should be doing better. Mr Thode, whose property was still affected by PSA, said last year was good for growers but more needed to be done. “We’re extremely exposed to disease going forward because we’ve only got two varieties, in other words we’re not diversified,” he said. “So there’s a lot of problems there, I mean I don’t think Zespri did a lot to make last year happen, it basically got handed to them on a plate by what happened in Chile and the fact that they just weren’t having to compete, I mean could raise the price.” But Te Puke kiwifruit grower Robbie Ellison said the returns from Zespri were excellent and he was happy with the company’s performance. He said four years ago he was not sure he would still be in business now, but had just harvested his best crop ever. http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201755334

The Fruit World Print Edition Online Order available today

Starting today, the print edition subscription for the Fruit World, the prestigious swiss magazine that has been covering developments in fresh produce for over 70 years now can be ordered online on this site. The first 10 online subscriptions will receive a 20% discount.

Kiwifruit growers granted right to sue Government over the vine disease PSA

The growers are claiming that Biosecurity NZ was negligent in allowing PSA to be introduced into New Zealand, costing New Zealand at least $885 million.They say it should be held accountable and pay damages for all forseeable losses. At the moment 72 growers and post-harvest operators are part of the court action; they say their losses so far total $280 million.The High Court in Wellington yesterday ruled it could sue the Crown for damages. It ordered that all growers wanting to join the court action have until early October to sign up. That will cost a one-off fee of $500, $1000 or $1500 depending on the size of their orchard, and post-harvest operators for a one-off fee of $10,000. The Kiwifruit Claim chairman John Cameron said the result was expected because he believed it had a strong case. A judgement from the High Court at Wellington has ruled in favour of The Kiwifruit Claim and against the Crown on all substantial points.Kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators who were negatively affected by Psa have until Friday 9 October 2015 to sign up to The Kiwifruit Claim, the court has ruled. The court said growers and post-harvest operators should be allowed to bring the proceedings as a representative or class action, which had been opposed by the Crown Law Office (CLO). The court said there was no objection to the litigation funder, LPF Litigation Funding Limited, a 100% kiwi-owned company, and approved the terms of the funding agreement, which had been signed by an initial 72 growers and post-harvest operators. An initial $250,000 security for costs is to be lodged by LPF, increasing as the litigation progresses. Most importantly for growers and post-harvest operators still to make a decision about joining the claim, the court set Friday 9 October 2015 as the deadline for others to join the litigation. The chairman of The Kiwifruit Claim, John Cameron, said the result was expected. “We believe we have a strong case and we’re getting our day in court to see this through,” Mr Cameron said. The Kiwifruit Claim spokesperson, Matthew Hooton, said, as of today, 72 growers and one post-harvest operator had registered and paid their one-off fee completing the formal paperwork to sign up to the claim. The plaintiffs are represented by a committee consisting of Mr Cameron (Chairman), Bob Burt and Grant Eynon. It is expected additional plaintiffs will join the claim now it has been given the go ahead by the High Court. “It’s entirely up to growers and post-harvest operators to decide whether or not to join the claim and they should leave plenty of time before Friday 9 October to read through all the documents and get their own independent legal advice,” Mr Hooton said. “In a nutshell, the claim alleges that Biosecurity NZ was negligent in allowing Psa to be introduced into New Zealand, costing New Zealand at least $885 million, according to Biosecurity NZ’s own independent study, and the plaintiffs believe it should be held accountable and pay damages for all foreseeable losses.   Read more about the topic at http://thekiwifruitclaim.org/news

L.A. Port officials travel to Chile and Asia to patch up relations with exporters

LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners and other port officials plan to travel to Chile, a major fruit-exporting country, and three Asian countries in hopes of patching up relations with customers following recent issues with congestion and a labor dispute at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Later this month, Commissioner Vilma Martinez will visit Shanghai, Korea and Singapore to meet with executives of “key shipping lines,” including China Shipping, APL and NYK, according to Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield. Commissioner David Arian has a trip to Chile planned for August to meet with private fruit exporters and refrigerated shipping lines, Sanfield said. Activity at the ports were stalled or slowed amid a labor dispute that affected the entire West Coast of the U.S. and exacerbated a congestion problem that caused more than a dozen ships to sit idle outside the harbor at any given time. Due to these issues, some companies have diverted their business to ports in Canada, Mexico and other places. “As you know, after the issues we experienced between (October to April) of this year, we have lots of competition from other ports that want our business,” Sanfield said. “It’s critical that we have face time with our major customers to update them on the success we have had on clearing congestion and what we’re doing to improve cargo efficiencies.”

Bayer CropScience opens SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center

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Bayer CropScience today celebrated its continued commitment to leading the agriculture industry with the grand opening of its SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center, a $12 million, 135,000-square-foot facility situated on 11 acres of land in Shakopee. This center, focusing on the equipment design and manufacturing business promotes advanced research and development on seed treatment products, seed coatings, equipment and services to provide holistic agricultural solutions to customers around the world. “Our SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center brings together significant technological, scientific and manufacturing resources to support sustainable agriculture initiatives and global product stewardship for our SeedGrowth business,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP. “The work done by our team in Shakopee continues to drive innovation in our equipment, services and technology, while also serving as a training center for our customers and employees all under one umbrella.'” The SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center will enable Bayer CropScience to deliver integrated crop solutions more rapidly by intensifying the research links between equipment, coatings and seed treatment products, strengthening the SeedGrowth division’s innovative power. Products originating from the SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center will be used to apply seed treatments and ensure application rates are in compliance with all government regulatory requirements. The ability to perform research at an improved rate will give growers new tools to manage the diverse demands of the food chain while maximizing the yield and quality of their crops. Construction on the site began in August 2014. The SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center houses administrative offices, manufacturing and research and development activity, as well as technical services and training facilities for both external customers and Bayer CropScience employees. This includes 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space; 35,000 square feet of office, research and development and training facilities; and 45,000 square feet for future facility expansion. Approximately 50 people are employed at the facility. As Bayer CropScience is committed to sustainability in all its activities and initiatives, the SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center was built with a focus on environmental friendliness. Planners worked with county conservationists to develop a native seed mix to plant in the no-mow areas that make up 85 percent of the outdoor area. In addition, contractors installed drip irrigation in place of standard lawn sprinklers to save water. Bayer CropScience also planted a pollinator seed mix around the facility to assist local beekeepers whose bees forage throughout the Shakopee area. “We are excited to open a facility that not only enhances research and development efforts at Bayer CropScience, but also benefit the entire Shakopee community,” said Mark Belden, site leader for the new SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center. “We’re investing in cultivating local partnerships through our efforts that support the area’s sustainable livelihood and its future growth.” This growth is part of plans for Bayer CropScience to invest close to $1 billion (EUR 700 million) in Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) in the United States between 2013 and 2016, mainly to ramp up research and development and to expand a world-class product supply of its top crop protection brands. The grand opening of the SeedGrowth Equipment Innovation Center is part of a global investment program Bayer CropScience started last year, bringing the CAPEX total for the period 2013 to 2016 of approximately $3.3 billion (EUR 2.4 billion).