Posts Tagged “food safety”
Lyons, GA – L.G. Herndon, Jr. Farms, Inc. is announcing the release of its newest line of packaged greens, SuperFit Greens. The launch of SuperFit Greens introduces an innovative concept for Herndon, offering healthy traditional greens in a convenient new package.
Herndon Farms has been the leader in produce categories including Vidalia onions, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and bunch leafy greens for more than 30 years. As owner Bo Herndon has watched the leafy greens category change recently, he has envisioned creating a line of packaged greens that would engage consumers. “Since we started the farm in the late 70s, we’ve always grown southern, cooking greens. With the rise of items like kale and with consumers looking for more convenience with their greens, we knew it was time to create the right brand for today’s consumers.
The name SuperFit Greens was born out of a passion to inspire consumers to think healthy when deciding what to eat. “‘Eat your greens’ isn’t a passing fad,” remarks John Williams, Sales and Marketing Director for Herndon Farms, “Consumers are more health conscious and we want to support that with our products, to support Americans who are returning to a more nutrient-rich diet.”
The company recently expanded their operation with the construction on a state-of-the-art 44,000 square foot processing plant on their farm in southeast Georgia, to accommodate SuperFit Greens packaging. Williams states that freshness and shelf life were at the forefront of their decision to pack on-site. “The entire process from harvest to packaging will occur at the farm. We’re very confident the quality of our product will stand out because of this,” confirms Williams.
All of Herndon’s items are Primus GFS certified and the new facility will follow these same guidelines. Herndon added, “food safety is an extremely important part of what we do every day and our plans for our company’s future. We have a food safety team in place to help handle all the requirements an operation like ours requires.”
Williams is also confident that their innovative packaging, the SuperFit Greens website, social media channels, and direct marketing efforts will appeal to consumers. “We are focused on inspiring consumers through engagement, education and with the high quality of greens they will see offered under the SuperFit Greens brand,” adds Williams.
The company will begin shipping SuperFit Greens this October from their farm in Lyons, Ga.
About L.G. Herndon Farms, Inc.:
L. G. Herndon Jr. Farms is a family owned and operated business with over 30 years of experience growing Vidalia® sweet onions, Peruvian and Mexican sweet onions, Lil’ Bo’s Petite sweet Vidalia onions, sweet corn, green leafy vegetables, and most recently, sweet potatoes. Herndon Farms strives to maintain a reputation of high-quality and consistency that has come to define the Herndon name. For more information, visit vidaliasfinest.com.
With 795 million people in the world reportedly going hungry, food waste is an ugly problem to face. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that consumers throw away $29 billion worth of edible food each year in their homes. Walmart is especially concerned with reducing food waste – not only because we’re the world’s largest grocer, but as an integral part of our EDLC philosophy that provides you everyday low prices.
Two culprits of food wastage are confusion caused by food labels and the tossing of imperfect, but perfectly usable, fresh produce.
Consumers often mistake date labels as food safety indicators; however, most of the labels are created based on peak quality. Adding to the confusion is the different language used on labels, including “best by”, “use by” and “sell by”. That’s why, in the last year, we started requiring suppliers of nonperishable food products under our Great Value private label to use a standardized date label, “Best if used by”.
The switch will go into full effect this month and involves thousands of products.
What really got our attention was a report released in 2013 by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America. My team has been working on a solution since then.
After surveying our customers about how they would choose a food label that indicated a change in quality but not safety, there was a clear winner: “Best if used by”. I expect the standard labels to have an even bigger impact on waste reduction since many of our suppliers sell products under their own labels outside of Walmart. This is significant, as the global economic impact of food wastage comes to about $750 billion each year.
Although food waste has been making headlines in recent months, including an in-depth article in the Guardian, Walmart has been doing its part for more than a decade to create a zero waste future by affecting change in the way we do business and throughout our supply chain, especially where fresh produce is concerned.
For years we’ve worked with farmers to repurpose fruits and vegetables that may be slightly blemished or oddly shaped. These items usually make up a very small part of a harvest and aren’t a major contributor to food waste; however, we know every bit counts. A customer may not take home a triangle-shaped apple from our produce bins, but that apple is just as tasty when made into apple juice.
Earlier this year we began selling Spuglies, Russet potatoes that were less than perfect on the outside thanks to rough weather in Texas. Working with our supplier, we found a way to offer these at a value price. Our wonky veg test at Asda in the UK was so popular, we now offer it year round when farmers have enough supply.
Because customers around the world shop very differently, our team here in the U.S. has been working for months on our first spec for this type of produce. We’re exploring the ways to make these items available while providing value to our customers and supporting farmers.
Digi International has introduced a wireless temperature monitoring system for perishable foods.
The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company’s trademarked Digi Honeycomb is marketed as an easily deployed, reliable and cost-effective service that continuously monitors product temperature and alerts users if the proper temperature is not maintained.
Transportation companies, restaurants, retailers, convenience stores, and warehouses can use the system to prevent spoilage and loss, lower labor costs and comply with public health requirements and food safety regulations, according to a news release.
A subscription-based service, Digi Honeycomb is comprised of handheld probes, wireless sensors, gateways and software that allows temperature data to be monitored, logged and retrieved and be easily integrated into back-office systems, according to the release.
The product encompasses a businesses’ front and back-of-house environments and allows organizations to address major challenges including food safety, chain-of-custody verification, loss prevention, proof of compliance and labor costs, according to the release.
With the Bluetooth-enabled system, automatic alerts can be set for all types of temperatures, including refrigerated, ambient, hot-holding and frozen.
Sensors can be installed in a variety of office equipment including walk-in refrigerators and freezers, under-counter coolers, showcase units and sandwich lines.
The Honeycomb gateway collects and uploads temperature data for processing, eliminating the need for staff to manually record or enter temperatures into a computer at a later time.
Watsonville, CA – The Consumers Union has released yet another produce “shoppers’ guide” list that can only contribute to increased consumer confusion about healthy dietary choices.
he article in Consumer Reports categorizes certain produce items that have been proven very safe as “high risk.” This categorization comes despite the Consumers Union’s own admission that half of the produce sampled by the USDA had no detectable residues at all. If residues were detected, the majority came in at levels well below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerances (99.8%).
Further, both USDA and EPA state that “residues do not pose a food safety concern.”
“For all of us involved in promoting better consumer health, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is among our main objectives. The benefits of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is absolutely indisputable. Consumers should eat both organic and conventionally grown produce without worrying about minute levels of pesticide residues,” says Dr. Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis.
“Despite the best efforts of the government, health experts and nutritionists, consumption of fruits and veggies has stagnated. Telling consumers one moment that certain produce items are ‘high risk’ and the very next advising them to ‘eat more’ is confusing and cannot be helpful with efforts to increase consumption for improved health,” says Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming.
Most recently, a peer reviewed study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of premature death by 42%, heart disease by 31% and cancer by 25%.
Recently, a new peer reviewed study conducted by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future found that conflicting messaging on food safety and nutrition may be having a detrimental impact on the dietary choices of consumers, especially those with lower incomes. Researchers involved in the study recommended that “those who want to improve food production techniques and those who want to improve nutrition cooperate to create consistent messaging about healthy eating for the benefit of consumers.”
“The science is clear that the best advice for consumers is also the simplest – eat more conventional and organic produce for better health,” Dolan says. “And, if you are concerned about residues, wash your produce.
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers. Our mission is to deliver credible information to consumers about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.
By the Alliance for Food and Farming
A new study from Colorado State University (CSU) shows that consumers continue to have concerns about the safety of conventionally grown produce and the government regulatory processes in place to protect public health. Among other findings, the study showed that: “A distrust in regulatory oversight is a key trigger in the valuation for local and organic.” And, consumers generally agreed with the statement that “eating organic lowers health risks.”
These findings are concerning since the body of nutrition science clearly shows that increased consumption of either conventional or organic produce results in better overall health and a longer life. Toxicological analyses also overwhelmingly show the safety of conventional produce – just look at the calculator function and accompanying report on safefruitsandveggies.com as an example. And, the perception that conventional produce is somehow inferior and less safe could have a negative impact on consumption, especially among lower income consumers who may not be able to afford the organic alternative.
Further, the expert panel report commissioned by the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) in 2010 examined the U.S. regulatory system in place to ensure food safety. The panel found: “The U.S. EPA’s current process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food is rigorous and health protective. The EPA’s testing requirements for pesticides used on food are far more extensive than for chemicals in any other use category, and include testing targeted specifically to assess the potential risks to fetuses, infants and children.”
PLEASANTON, Calif. – DeltaTRAK®, a leading innovator of cold chain, environmental monitoring and food safety management solutions, announced the introduction of its DeltaTRAK TempDot Plus time-temperature indicator labels. The low-cost irreversible labels are designed to provide positive indication that the label has been activated and is in the “ON” condition. If a temperature breach occurs the product provides detailed visual information indicating the excursion length. The new labels feature unique graphics and provide the user with a green “ON” button following the IEC 5009 standard. The highly accurate labels also provide individual label serial numbers for traceability.
“The TempDot labels’ design allows them to remain completely inert prior to use so that preconditioning is not required, allowing them to be shipped or stored under most conditions and significantly reducing cost of ownership,” said Frederick Wu, president and CEO of DeltaTRAK. “Additional benefits over existing chemical labels include the easy-to-read activation and progress windows which confirm when the label is on, and the imprinted serial numbers assure traceability.”
DeltaTRAK TempDot Plus labels monitor the cumulative amount of time the label is exposed to temperature above its threshold. When a temperature excursion occurs the blue dye, which is generally recognized as safe, melts and progresses through a window with clearly indicated time markers. When temperature returns below the label’s threshold the dye solidifies and stops moving. This irreversible process allows the label to measure cumulative temperature abuse time above threshold temperature. TempDot Plus labels provide traceable temperature information on all forms of temperature sensitive products helping our customers meet the requirements of state and federal regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) and the FDA Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance. The labels are available in multiple temperature ranges with specific thresholds and run out times for food, pharmaceutical and biologics applications.About DeltaTRAK®
DeltaTRAK® is a leading innovator of cold chain management, environmental monitoring and food safety solutions for the food, pharmaceutical, life sciences and chemical industries. The company’s cold chain management and food safety solutions include a wide range of temperature, humidity, and pH monitoring and recording devices, such as data loggers, wireless systems, and a variety of professional thermometers. DeltaTRAK also manufactures facility and mobile environment monitoring solutions that provide real-time data access to centralized web/cloud based data. Headquartered in Pleasanton, California, DeltaTRAK has an R&D facility in San Diego, California, a manufacturing and distribution facility in Modesto, California, and an electronic assembly plant in Shenzhen, China. Contact DeltaTRAK by phone at 1-800-962-6776 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found at www.deltatrak.com.
The Broomfield, CO-based company introduced the new UHF tag at the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit, last month in Anaheim, Calif.
The ultra-thin tag has a button that can be pressed to start and/or mark temperature data at multiple points during a product’s cold chain journey. If the temperature is out of range a red light blinks. A green light displays if programmed parameters have been maintained, the news release states.
The new tags are effective from about -20 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Thousands of time and temperature points can be logged to help manage food safety. They can be attached to packages, cases, or pallets.
The product has microprocessors allowing for a variety of calculations including remaining shelf life, mean kinetic temperature and multi-parameter alarms. Custom product configurations are written to each tag and are easily updated in the field.
A recent Stanford University nutritional comparison study has generated intense consumer interest about the differences between conventionally and organically grown fruits and vegetables. But, a website – www.safefruitsandveggies.com – was created specifically for consumers who are interested in science based information and perspectives about the safety of both conventional and organic produce.
“The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) wanted to create an information resource for people so that they can make educated shopping decisions for themselves and their families,” says Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director for the AFF. “We think the information presented on www.safefruitsandveggies.com will reassure consumers that they can choose either organic or conventionally grown products with confidence. The science and the facts support that both production systems are very safe,” Dolan explains.
The www.safefruitsandveggies.com website features information from experts in the fields of toxicology, nutrition, risk analysis, consumer attitudes, organic and conventional pesticide usage trends and farming. “One of the most popular features is the calculator function on the website,” Dolan says. This function allows consumers to click on who they are (man, woman, teenager or child) and then select their favorite fruit or vegetable. The tool then calculates the number of servings you would have to eat in a day and still not see any effect from pesticide residues. “The calculations show a consumer would literally have to eat hundreds to thousands of servings – no matter if you are an adult or a child – and still not see any health impact from pesticide residues,” Dolan adds.
The calculator function and corresponding report was developed using information from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pesticide Data Program. The USDA’s monitoring data was analyzed by Dr. Robert Krieger, a toxicologist who heads the Personal Chemical Exposure Program at University of California, Riverside. It should be noted that Dr. Krieger was asked to analyze the highest residue levels found by USDA.
Another report “Scared Fat” features new consumer research results concerning how fear based messaging and marketing tactics are actually becoming a barrier to consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables, especially among low income consumers. “The survey showed that almost 10% of low income consumers stated they would reduce consumption of fruits and vegetables after hearing commonly used messaging that calls into question the safety of fruits and vegetables,” Dolan says.
Dolan points out that this month the USDA’s Economic Research Service issued a report that showed 10% of American households were not able to provide their children with “adequate, nutritious” food at times during 2011. “The USDA report illustrates the real issue,” Dolan says. “Low income consumers already struggle to put healthy and nutritious foods on their tables. This is why reassurance that more affordable produce is nutritious and safe is of crucial importance if we are to improve the diets of Americans and lower obesity rates. Misguided safety fears cannot become another barrier to increasing consumption of the very foods that health experts say we should be eating more of,” Dolan explains.
Other popular sections on the website include “Ask the Experts,” which features videos of farmers explaining how they control pests and diseases on their organic and conventional farms, a list of the most popular fruits and veggies with explanations on their nutritional value, regular blog postings and consumer food safety tips.
“These are only a few examples of the information that can be found on www.safefruitsandveggies.com and there is just so much more,” Dolan explains. “We hope safefruitsandveggies.com provides consumers with a place that they can go to read and learn more so they can make educated shopping choices,” Dolan says. “But we also hope that this information helps them to include more fruits and vegetables in their diets with confidence.”
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers. Our mission is to deliver credible information to consumers about the safety of all fruits and vegetables. We do not engage in lobbying nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry. In the interest of transparency, our entire 2011 tax return is posted on safefruitsandveggies.com.
Source: Alliance for Food and Farming