CURRENT ISSUE

view current print edition

 

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on seven produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Magnolia Brand Produce Inc., operating out of Vardaman, MS, for failing to pay a $145,210 award in favor of a Mississippi seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Richard E. Bailey was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • Tab Distributors Inc., doing business as Chicago Mushroom & Produce Co., operating out of Carol Stream, IL, for failing to pay a $60,517 award in favor of a Pennsylvania seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Thomas E. Gentile, Anthony T. Gentile and Baloinder S. Grewal were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  •  J&R Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of Tampa, FL, for failing to pay a $45,101 award in favor of a Virginia seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Shaheed Ackbar was listed as a member of the business.

  • United Fresh Produce, operating out of Riverside, CA, for failing to pay a $32,043 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Regina E. Erickson and Barbara J. Jamili were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  • Victor Packing Fruit & Produce Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, for failing to pay a $25,427 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Victor Ortiz was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • Sun Valley Enterprise Inc., operating out of Bakersfield, CA, for failing to pay a $7,888 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Gumecindo Ramirez, Rigoberto Sermeno and Everacdo Vargas were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  • 999 LLC, operating out of St. Paul, MN, for failing to pay a $4,511 award in favor of a Minnesota seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Joua Thao was listed as a member of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.

The 2017 American Advertising Awards honored Meijer with 10 awards for its creative excellence in advertising, including Best in Show and Judge’s Choice. The American Advertising Federation West Michigan hosted the awards ceremony on Feb. 16.

Meijer was recognized for Beer Frontier, Mmmmeat Thanksgiving, more Meijer, and the holiday Twitter videos. The Meijer holiday commercial Do You See What I See won Best in Show and the Halloween Scary Candy scenes won Judge’s Choice. Both campaigns also won Gold in their respective categories.

“The work that our creative teams and agency partners produce on behalf of Meijer has been outstanding,” Nicole Laughlin, vice president of brand development and marketing for Meijer, said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have our campaigns recognized by the industry; however, we are even prouder that the campaigns resonated so strongly with our customers. To us, our most important judge is the Meijer customer.”

“[Do You See What I See] did it right from start to finish,” said ADDY Awards judge Anthony Atwood about the Best in Show winner. “From the beautiful cinematography [and] the overall way it was shot to the way that the entire story unfolded. It was top notch.”

In addition to being honored with Best in Show and Judge’s Choice, Meijer won the following awards:

  • Gold, Social Media Campaign – Halloween Scary Candy Scenes (Judge’s Choice)
  • Gold, Regional/National TV Commercial Campaign – Do You See What I See (Best in Show)
  • Silver, Microsite – Beer Frontier
  • Silver, Microsite – Mmmmeat Thanksgiving
  • Silver, Photography Campaign – Mmmmeat Thanksgiving
  • Bronze, Social Media Campaign – Holiday Twitter Videos
  • Bronze, Blog – Beer Frontier
  • Bronze, Regional/National TV Commercial Campaign – more Meijer

Green Giant Fresh has been issued a U.S. patent on its Cauliflower Crumbles chopped cauliflower processing method, and a Canadian patent is pending. The company's patented method — comprising elements from processing to packing — maintains the freshness of the products while preventing discoloration and ensuring an optimal shelf life of more than 16 days. These versatile Cauliflower Crumbles products can become a tasty stand-alone side dish, or serve as a healthy ingredient alternative for potatoes or pasta in a variety of starchy dishes.GGF-CC-Line

Following the popularity of Cauliflower Crumbles, the original chopped cauliflower product, Green Giant Fresh rolled out two unique new products effectively creating a Cauliflower Crumbles line.

Cauliflower Crumbles Fried Rice Blend and Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Crumbles are now being distributed nationwide and picking up more momentum as new retailers are stocking these versatile, value-added products.

“Consumers are looking for time-saving alternatives, while staying healthy,” Jennifer Fancher, vice president marketing, said in a press release. “These blends — with all the time-consuming prep work done — promise little to no prep, no mess, no clean-up and no waste. Our cauliflower fried rice blend has just one-fourth the calories of regular fried rice.”

These convenient blends are recipe-ready for roasting, baking, sautéing, mashing or steaming right in their package. All Cauliflower Crumbles products are gluten-free, paleo friendly and can be used in everything from side dishes and salads, to pizza crust and even desserts.

Kanzi brand apples have blasted into space, rocketing from Washington state orchards to the crew of the International Space Station. A special hand-picked selection of Kanzi apples traveled on an unmanned SpaceX-10 cargo flight on Falcon 9 rocket, providing an intensely flavored treat for the astronauts living aboard the station.Kanzi-brand-apples-are-out-

The SpaceX-10 flight was launched Feb. 18 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to enter space and dock at the International Space Station. The primary mission of the flight was to resupply the space station, as conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

According to Bob Mast, president of CMI Orchards in Wenatchee, WA, the food system manager at the Johnson Space Center selected Kanzi apples for the resupply mission. “We think it’s an absolutely perfect fit for astronauts wanting a fresh taste from home,” Mast said in a press release. “NASA wants to work directly with growers to secure the freshest and most delicious fruit imaginable for the space crew and Kanzi apples fit the bill.”

Kanzi Alliance grower Scott Swindeman of Applewood Orchards in Michigan was delighted to partner with CMI to provide some of the very best apples to the crew of the space station. "With flavor that is out of this world, it is only fitting that Kanzi apples have the opportunity to be universally appreciated,” Swindeman said in the release.

In 1992, the International Food Container Organization, better known as IFCO, was convinced it had built a better mousetrap in the perishable packaging business that would revolutionize and standardize the packaging, transport, storage and display of fresh food in Europe, the United States and globally.IFCO-Walsh-Head-ShotDaniel Walsh

Twenty-five years later, by any standard, the company has been very successful and it has managed to carve out a sizable global niche for the reusable plastic container.

Daniel Walsh, IFCO’s president of the North America division, estimates that RPCs account for about 20 percent of all perishable shipments in North America, with IFCO garnering about 80 percent of that market. The company’s 270 million RPCs were involved in 1.4 billion shipments last year, covering more than 50 countries and including thousands of customers.

Back in the beginning, IFCO’s first big foray into the U.S. market involved Walmart, which asked its suppliers to switch to what it considered an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use packaging.  

“We’ve had double-digit growth every year since then,” said Walsh.

IFCO developed a pool approach to the supply chain, which involves collecting the containers at destination and returning them to the manufacturer’s multiple supply yards for cleaning and redistribution.  While that model had its challenges in the beginning, Walsh said it now works very well to the point that the containers can be used in many international shipments.

Most recently, IFCO beefed up its business in South America with many RPCs now being routinely shipped from that continent to Europe, Asia and the United States. This ability to ship the RPC literally anywhere and keep it in the rotation is a huge advantage.

According to Walsh, the product has many advantages over other packaging options, including this laundry list that he quickly articulated: “Greater versatility, reduces field heat quicker, better utilization, less handling of the product and a reduction in its impact on the environment.”

While each of those advantages is significant, the reusable element of RPCs may well be its top selling point in today’s environmentally conscious world. Walsh said that’s a great advantage that resonates very well with the buyer community.

RPCs have shown tremendous growth in the United States largely because they are requested of shippers by several major retailers. But Walsh is quick to point out that they do offer advantages throughout the supply chain, beginning at the grower-shipper level. In fact, he believes that without advantages at all levels and buy-in by all participants, they wouldn’t be as successful as they have been.

Though a 20 percent market share is significant, IFCO’s president said there is obviously still much room for growth within the fresh produce sector. He said IFCO is constantly working with new customers and it believes it has an RPC configuration for every item, from a delicate strawberry to a large sized watermelon.

“We are also looking at adjacent sectors, including meat, fish and bread,” he said.

Recently, the company appears to be much more visible in the marketplace as it has had sponsorship appearances at several different produce industry events. Walsh said that is by design, noting that as the company has been perfecting its model, it has proven the concept through 25 years of service and is aggressively offering that service to the industry.

Walsh firmly believes that, while improvements are always being explored, the RPC “mousetrap” it has developed is a better product.