Inside this Food Report



May 1, 2012

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Hello Everyone,

Happy May!  Here in the Northwest things are starting to happen!  Pea planting is finished and harvest is anticipated to begin June 1.   Corn and bean plantings are underway and we are getting ready for the busy crop season ahead.    The weather seems to be cooperating for a fairly normal crop year in the United States but of course that could change depending on weather conditions.

The past few weeks have been a blur with part of the Noon team in Japan and the rest of us staying behind to hold down the fort.   May will bring more travel with many of our staff heading to China to participate in the Sial Food and Beverage Exhibition May 9 – 11th in Shanghai.  Noon International will be exhibiting in the U.S section, building number N4, booth number A031.  Please stop by and say hello if you are visiting the show!  For those who do not have the opportunity to attend this exhibition we will certainly tell you all the interesting things we see and learn in our June issue.    While some us will be in China this month others will travel to Malaysia and Australia!    Wow, it is a busy month ahead!

More and more consumers are concerned about making healthy and safe food choices so we included a lot of information in this issue about one our favorite fruits, not only delicious but super healthy, the blueberry.

We wish all the Mom’s out there a very Happy Mother’s Day and we hope your loved ones take extra special care of you.     Maybe they will serve you some tasty and delicious blueberries for brunch… it is very important for all the Moms of the world to remain healthy!

Best wishes,

Betty Johnson and the Noon Team.


United States:   Green pea plantings are completed in the United States and harvest will begin around June 1st depending on weather conditions.  To date the weather in Northwest has been wet and cool and heat units will be needed in order to bring the crop along, however there are no adverse conditions reported to the pea crop at this time.   Prices for the 2012 crop season are expected to be around 5% to 7% higher than last year.

Potato crop emergence in the Colombia Basin may be late this year.   It has been reported by the North American Potato Market News that soil temperatures in this area have not been warm enough to encourage plant emergence.

Europe:  Pea planting in Europe will continue through end May.  All reports to date have noted that favorable weather conditions should produce a plentiful crop of vegetables this season.  The first plantings of sweet corn took place in April with an expected July harvest start date.

Mexico:  Although mid day temperatures have been high the cooler evening temperatures has continued to produce enough broccoli and cauflower for processing.  However the higher daytime temperatures and lack of rain is resulting in some lower quality product.

Guatemala:  Rain has arrived to Guatemala earlier than expected, however early rains can signal that the June/July start up of new season broccoli will take off strong.   Sugar snap peas, snow peas and melon season are ending.

Ecuador:  There has been a lot of rain in April, however our sources report that the rain has not affected the quality or yields of the raw material broccoli.

Chile:  It has been cool and rainy recently in Chile.   Chile is now approaching winter and berry harvest is now completed.   Strawberry prices remain firm.    Kiwi fruit will be harvested through May.

China:  China is experiencing improved weather conditions compared to last season.   Spring crop vegetables such as asparagus, peapods and sugar snap peas have begun harvest and crops expected to be good.
It seems prices are stable and still a bit on the high side due to lack of inventories/carryover from last season.   Our sources in China report that prices should remain high due to labor and energy cost.

Edamame is expected to start second week of July.  It is a bit delayed due to rain during the planting season.

Will Your Imported Foods Meet The New FDA Mandates?

Container ship carrying food products into the United States

The Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law by President Obama on January 4th, 2012 will enable the FDA to strengthen the United States food safety system.  Included in this act are rules and regulations for all imported food.   The FDA is working on a new food safety system based solely on prevention by implementing polices that make certain all foods meet the same safety standards as foods produced in the U.S.  With this act come many changes and regulations to the previous system.  Some of the key mandates that everyone should be aware of if your company will be importing food products into the United States are listed below:

  • Importer accountability: For the first time, importers have an explicit responsibility to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate preventive controls in place to ensure that the food they produce is safe. (Final regulation and guidance due 1 year following enactment)

  • Third Party Certification: The FSMA establishes a program through which qualified third parties can certify that foreign food facilities comply with U.S. food safety standards. This certification may be used to facilitate the entry of imports. (Establishment of a system for FDA to recognize accreditation bodies is due 2 years after enactment)

  • Certification for high-risk foods: FDA has the authority to require that high-risk imported foods be accompanied by a credible third party certification or other assurance of compliance as a condition of entry into the U.S.

  • Voluntary qualified importer program: FDA must establish a voluntary program for importers that provides for expedited review and entry of foods from participating importers. Eligibility is limited to, among other things, importers offering food from certified facilities. (Implementation due 18 months after enactment)

  • Authority to deny entry: FDA can refuse entry into the U.S. of food from a foreign facility if FDA is denied access by the facility or the country in which the facility is located.

Creating a new food safety system is a daunting task; it will take time and Congress has established specific implementation dates in the legislation.  However much of what gets accomplished and how quickly will depend on the funding which the FDA receives each year.   Funding will be a critical component to properly staff the FDA so that deadlines for implementation of mandates can successfully be met.  

For more detailed information on the Food Safety Modernization Act and how it will affect importing your products to the United States please go to the link below:

The Powerful Little Blueberry

The powerful little berry, the Blueberry, has so many healthy benefits it is no wonder that it is increasing in popularity around the world!    Native to the North American landscape and gaining popularity in both Asian and the Mediterranean blueberries are the second most important commercial berry crop in the United States just behind strawberries.  Blueberries are consistently ranked in the United States as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all food groups.  With just under 85 calories per cup these little berries pack a powerful punch.   One cup contains 35% of your daily value of bone healthy vitamin K, 25% of your daily value of manganese, 24% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 14% of your daily value of fiber.    Blueberries are chock full of phytonutrients which mean they contain high amounts of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanadins which give the berries that beautiful blue/purple color and are responsible for the many health benefits received through consumption.

Many well published studies have now been completed on the health effects that blueberries have on the body, not limited to but including, increased brain function, reduced risk of heart disease, cancer prevention, and even helping to promote against the aging process. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center has found supporting evidence that blueberries may help to reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.   In another recent study it was found that eating 2 – 2 ½ cups of blueberries per day helped increase memory and brain function in older adults.

Like many fruits blueberries are delicate and the phytonutrients and nutritional value of the berry can be diminished and damaged over time.  Cooking blueberries or subjecting them to heat can cause damage to the anthocyanin antioxidants.   To optimize the maximum nutrition and healthy benefits it is best to eat frozen or fresh blueberries.  Scientific studies make it clear that by freezing blueberries there is no loss to the nutritional properties and many times frozen blueberries contain higher levels of nutrients than fresh blueberries that have been subjected to air and light while sitting in the fresh produce department.    However the important information to remember is whether eating fresh or frozen blueberries the taste is delicious and you will be doing something healthy and nutritious for yourself and your family!

Blueberry Acreage Continues to Rise

Blueberry field in Washington State

Recently there have been many studies conducted to show the healthy benefits of blueberries and consumers around the world are taking note!  Blueberries have tipped the charts with a total crop value of $640.7 million in 2010 accounting for an astonishing 18 percent of the United States berry crop value. In 2010 the United States harvested a total of over 246 million pounds of cultivated blueberries placing the United States as the world’s largest blueberry producer with blueberries as the second most important U.S. commercial fruit crop.  North America, including  the U.S and Canada, single handedly accounts for 57 percent of the world’s fresh cultivated blueberry crop and 85 percent of the world’s processed frozen cultivated blueberry crop.

In 1995 the World blueberry acreage covered a mere 50,000 acres and within 15 years that number has nearly quadrupled to 190,000 acres in 2010!  The dramatic increase has taken place mostly in North and South America however many other areas around the world are catching on and acreage has expanded across the globe. South America increased production to 153 million pounds in 2010 becoming the second largest grower of cultivated blueberries.    Mexico, Europe, and Asia have also seen an increase in production and acreage. The various health benefits are a major contributing factor and are powering the dramatic rise in blueberry consumption over the last 15 years.

Rising Cultivated Blueberry Acreage

ACRES 2005 2007 2008 2010
North America 71,075 85,617 95,607 108,791
South America 18,039 33,650 39,703 44,000
Europe 9,736 16,705 18,038 20,780
Mediterranean 0 215 355 672
Southern Africa 740 810 910 1,124
Asia and Pacific 4,188 7,365 7,870 14,117
TOTAL 103,778 144,362 162,483 189,484

 In 2010 North America produced a total of 491 million pounds of cultivated blueberries.   Demand is continually growing and has prompted increased plantings which should result in steady growth of this powerful little berry!

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