Inside this Food Report



VOLUME 8
ISSUE 3


March 1, 2017

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Hello Everyone,

Spring will be here on March 20th and I for one cannot wait. It has been a cold, wet, and snowy winter here in the Northwest and I am ready for some warmer weather! I have heard some reports that the pea planting will be a bit delayed due to the ground still frozen over in Eastern Oregon and Washington. This area was hit hard with cold and snow over the winter months.

Jose and I are heading down to the American Frozen Food Convention on March 4th and it's sure to be a hectic and fast paced 4 days. We are both looking forward to meeting with many of our suppliers and customers and look forward to discussing the many business opportunities ahead.

Last but not least most likely you have all heard that company owner Lillian Noon has announced Mr. Jose Castillo as our new company President. Jose, who was born and raised in food processing factories knows his way around the frozen food industry. You can always rely on Noon International's experienced sales team with over 200 years of combined experience in the international food markets.

Jose and I along with our entire team will continue to strive in bringing you high quality and safe food products from around the globe with the outstanding service you have come to depend on.

We are excited and optimistic about this new chapter in Noon International's history.

Thank you very much for your continued support and business.

Best regards,

Betty Johnson and the Noon International Team


CropVeggies United States:     Drought conditions in the United States are much improved, especially with January/February rains in California, that state is slowly coming out of it’s 5 year drought.    In fact, prices for California carrots are rising due to the recent heavy rains in that state

Plantings in the Northwest region, which normally begin at end February /early March, may be delayed a week or two. The heavy amount of snow and cold weather this winter season has caused the ground to freeze. Growers in some regions are now assessing the ground conditions to confirm if suitable yet for planting green peas.

Potato processing factories still running at capacity with enough raw material potatoes available.

Weather predictions for the Western part of the United States are for a warm and dry spring.    The El Nino weather pattern is expected to bring warmer temperatures in March and could raise drought concerns in later summer and into winter. The Southern part of the United States is experiencing an early spring (2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual) with flowers and trees already blooming and turning green.

Mexico: Conventional Broccoli and Cauliflower are in peak season with good quality and volume.

Mexico’s organic broccoli season will commence end May/Beginning June depending on weather conditions.

Guatemala:     Cantaloupe and Honeydew melon season continues through May. Another disappointing season for both Sugar snap peas and snow peas due to weather conditions. Yields are down and many will need to import to fulfill customer requirements.

Chile:    Blueberry season in Chile now completed.    Luckily the recent wild fires did not affect the blueberry crops.

Europe: Most vegetables are in tight supply and offers limited due to a poor growing season caused by cooler weather and rain. Green Bean and Brussel sprout harvest were delayed in some areas due to the plants not developing enough. Some Belgium suppliers are estimating a loss of the Brussel sprout crop of nearly 35% to 40% overall. Inventories of Brussel sprout are limited or non existent.

Potato reports coming out of Europe mention raw material is tight and processors may not be able to meet their expected sales expansion goals. Although growers planned for major expansion in Belgium The North-western European Potato Growers suffered a cold and wet spring which delayed plantings.    Summer season brought very hot dry weather and many growers were holding off on digging due to the harden soil. Rain in October accelerated the harvest in Belgium as soil softened however yields did drop approximately 63 cwt per acre which will result in difficulty for Europe to meet growth levels for global demand. Currently Belgium suppliers are taking in raw material from France, Germany and Poland to keep factories running.

Cold, wind and rain have affected Spain’s artichoke crop which has resulted in lower yields and higher prices for both canned and fresh artichokes.    Broccoli and cauliflower has also been affected with lower volumes being harvested and processed.

Thailand: Mango season will commence this month. Reports coming from Thailand advise yields and quality are expected to be good.

China:

Shandong Province:     Edamame harvest is now completed. Quality and yields are reported as good with stable price.    Broccoli season suffered cold temperatures and adverse weather conditions which resulted in low yields and quality.

Most of all production in this area is completed and will start up again in March /April.

Zhejiang Province: Cauliflower production is winding down.    Quality is reported as good; however, prices are a bit higher than usual due to the reduction of planting areas. Broccoli production is now completed, with stable yields and pricing. Sugar snap peas and snow peas will commence harvest in April. To date growth conditions, look good. At present there is some raw material coming in from Yunnan province and being processed at factories in Zhejiang and Fujian province, however due to transportation costs and the high market demand prices are very high for this product.

Rape flower production underway. Due to thicker stems in the early stage of harvest the quality has been compromised.    It is expected to improve as harvest progresses.

Fujian Province: Water Chestnut production is underway and quality is stable, however prices have increased dramatically over the last few weeks.    We have heard this is due to the price of raw material being monopolized by some local entities.

 


"PCHF" COURSE - WHAT IS THAT?

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, and is beginning to come into force. With it comes a raft of new regulations intended to help ensure safe practices across manufacturers who produce food for human and animal consumption, and was the first sweeping reform to food safety laws in seven decades. It’s a lot of change for a huge industry, and the practical implications of the regulations have been the source of much discussion. But the Food and Drug Administration have created courses to help manufacturers not only understand what the FSMA means for them, but also to help meet guidelines on proper qualifications on newly created requirements.

Under the FSMA, all businesses that manufacture food for human consumption will be required to produce a plan that identifies and evaluates potential food safety hazards and ways to prevent them, monitoring plans for the company, and ways in which problems will be addressed. That plan has to be created by a “preventive controls qualified individual,” (PCQI) .

In order to help make that training available to all businesses, but particularly small to medium-sized businesses, the FDA worked with the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute for Food Safety and Health to create the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, or the FSPCA. The FSPCA brings together FDA staff, state agencies, food industry figures, and academics to help create a course called Preventive Controls For Human Food (PCHF) that prepare businesses for the implementation of the FSMA. The course, follows the FDA’s standardized curriculum for the PCQI each business will be required to have on staff.

The PCHF course designed for manufacturers producing human food covers in detail the regulations being introduced by the FSMA and hands-on practice completing Hazard Analysis documentation. Working groups are created in each class to practice identifying verification procedures and preventive controls.

By taking the PCHF course you become legally qualified to act as a PCQI, however you can also become a PCQI through job experience. There is also a blended course available that combines online and in-person instruction, but there is no fully online option. The course is offered around the world throughout the year, and more information about them can be found at www.ifsh.iit.edu/fspca. For more information about how to meet FSMA qualifications, visit www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA.


THE TRENDY BEAUTIFUL BEET!

Beets may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "trendy and hip produce," but if you pay close attention you might be surprised to see these bright purple/red beauties popping up in everything from juice to jerky. There's no question that these root veggies are having a moment, thanks in part to their versatility and the striking color of most widely available varietys. But looking good isn't the only thing beets have going for them; beets are a healthy food with a lot of benefits!

Beets have been part of the human diet for centuries, with mention of them appearing as early as the eighth century BC. Greeks, Romans, and Mesopotamians all enjoyed eating them, with domestic beets appearing around the first century BC. It was in the mid-1700s that a new use for beets was found: producing sugar. In fact, even today most common sugar is extracted from sugar beets, a huge varietal that can be up to a foot long and weigh around five pounds.

As for everyday eating, table beets are the most popular. There are numerous types of table beets, ranging from the common Red Ace to the yellow Burpee's Golden to the red-and-white Chioggia. All varieties are low calorie foods with no fat and a high vitamin C content. Beets have been found to help lower blood pressure and inflammation, while providing fiber, potassium,folate and nitrates.

Recently beets are finding their way into high end culinary kitchens using them to blend into hummus, soup, or juice. Baking with beets has also become popular, pureeing beets to give red velvet cake a natural red color and adding to chocolate desserts to give an antioxidant boost! Snacks are also being produced with beets, including salty and sweet chips. Since they come fresh, jarred, canned, and frozen, there's no end to the ways you can add beets to your diet!


NEW DATA TO HELP UNDERSTAND ORGANIC GROWTH

Organics have been one of the most remarkably fastest growing sectors in food consumption in recent years, and now the US Department of Agriculture wants to find out what that means in practical terms. In January, the agency announced a wide ranging survey called the 2016 Certified Organic Survey, designed to provide new data to help understand how the production of organics is impacting the economy.

"In recent years, U.S. farms and ranches have experienced tremendous growth in certified organic agriculture sales. Last year, NASS [National Agriculture Statistics Service] reported that U.S. certified organic producers sold a total of $6.2 billion in products in 2015, up 13 percent since 2014," Adam Cline, NASS Census Section Head and member of the USDA Organic Working Group, said in a statement. "As sales from certified organic agriculture products increase, demand for accurate statistics about certified organic farming grows. This survey will be another step forward by USDA in its commitment to helping certified organic agriculture thrive and will ensure that future decisions impacting the industry stem from factual information."

The survey, which concluded on February 19th, was provided to certified organic farmers and ranchers across the country and in Alaska and Hawaii. It asked producers to "provide information on acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices."

Depending on the results, the survey could have wide reaching impact at a time when investments in organics are at an all-time high. It could impact federal policy, business decisions by farmers, and even crop insurance rates. It will also provide a more complete picture of how organic farmers are faring as interest in organics continues to grow, while helping the industry move forward in a way that promotes stable and continued growth.

The results are expected to be released in a report in September of this year.


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