Inside this Food Report


November 1, 2013

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Hello Everyone,

I am writing this on Halloween, one of Noon’s favorite times of the year!  Some of our members and their off springs really got into the Halloween spirit this season and decided to come to work in costume. You can enoy their photos at the bottom of this newsletter.

As we welcome in November and the holiday season, we finish a very busy October.   Chad and Steve attended the Anuga Exhibition in Cologne Germany and came back with many exciting new food ideas involving an assortment of vegetables, fruits, beverages, and dried foods, both organic and conventional, and representing all areas of the globe!  Please contact Noon International with any of your requirements for food products, frozen, canned, or dried, as we are sure we will be able to help you!

We have complied from our trip information concerning the most recent trends we noticed while at Anuga which you can view by clicking below.

Anuga 2013 Trend Report

The majority of our fruit and vegetable harvest in the United States is now completed.   It was a difficult season here in the Northwest for most of our products, including peas, corn and carrots.    Yields are down on all due to adverse weather conditions.   For corn especially the wind and rainstorm in Oregon and Washington State in September really hurt most processors, with lost acres and reduced yields.  Please see more in our crop section below.   Inventories are tight and prices are firm.  Recently grain corn prices are down and there is talk about lower grower prices next season for sweet corn possibly giving some relief to frozen and canned corn prices next season. 

Last but not least congratulations to all you Red Sox Fans out there!    As a native New Yorker and Yankee fan you can imagine how I’m feeling today but I do love Boston…such a beautiful city, full of energy and steeped in history.   I enjoy visiting Boston any chance I get and maybe next time I will take in a Red Sox game!

All The Best,

Betty and the Noon International Team

CropVeggiesUnited States: Corn season is now completed in the US.   Yields were disappointing for most suppliers.   With various fluctuations in the weather during the corn season, processors were starting and stopping production which reduced their yields.  Yields were good during the first half of the season but towards seasons end yields really tapered off.  As an example an average yield on corn is about 12 – 13 tons to the acre and by the end of the season most growers were seeing 7 – 8 tons per acre.  This along with a mid season wind storm which damaged many acres has tighten inventories and resulted in a firm corn market.    Diced carrot production is now underway and some suppliers are reporting lower yields.

Washington State potato crop will conclude first part of November.   For the most part Columbia Basin growers are disappointed in yields this season.   Summer heat caused fields, which would usually produce good yields through end of September, to die at end August.   Some areas of the Basin such as the North area did produce good yields but it will not be enough to off set the other areas lower yields.   NAPMN is reporting yield estimates to be around 595 cwt per acre compared to earlier estimates of 610 cwt per acres for Washington’s potato crop.

Europe: Late September and early October proved to be better growing conditions for most of Europe’s potatos.  Earlier in the season it was reported that wet and cold weather delayed plantings and then summer heat slowed growing, however the situation has improved.   For the most part yields are only slightly down and quality is good, however it has been reported that Poland is expecting its potato crop to be down about 34% compared to last season.

Peru: Asparagus season got off to a slow start but is now in full harvest.   Weather is stable and yields being received are on target.  Most processors will not have much if any availability to offer beyond the already contracted volumes.

Chile: Heavy frost in September damaged fruit crops in Chile.    The freezes occurred during the bloom period of many fruits.   It has been reported that losses could be between 30 – 50% for stone fruit and cherries with some fruit such as kiwi as high as 60%.  Blueberries and raspberries are expected to begin harvest by middle December and should not be as affected by the frost.  Fruit Trade Association Fedefruta has given an early estimate of up to 1 billion in damage.   The central region of Chile impacting the area from Coquimbo to Bio Bio was the hardest hit and the area where Chile’s wine grapes are grown.   The wine industry is estimating a reduction in grape production by about 20%.   It was the worst frost Chile has seen during this time of year in 84 years.

Pea harvest in Chile began Mid October and is currently underway.

Argentina: Blueberry crop in Argentina has suffered some losses due to a hail storm in middle October.

Mexico: New season broccoli and cauliflower to commence November.  To date the crop looks good.  

Guatemala: Peak season broccoli will begin to wind down as the fruit season in Guatemala commences. Brussel Sprout season will begin in Guatemala this month and run through February.


Zhejian Province: Many crops were seriously destroyed by a typhoon which arrived on October 7th.   Many factories in Zhejian province were affected and shut down for almost a week.    Cauliflower and broccoli fields were flooded by the rain during the typhoon and it is reported that 50% of the crop was destroyed.

Fujian Province:  Autumn edamame crop now underway and pea pods/sugar snap which were planted in October are doing well.   Broccoli and cauliflower planting is completed .

Shandong Province:   Due to the drought in September Taro yields have decreased by 40% compared to last season.  Prices are expected to go up and the processing season has been cut short.   The current output of pumpkin has declined and prices are reported to be 15% higher than last season.

The Equitable Food Initiative

With news reports every other day about salmonella or E. coli poisoning in fresh produce such as spinach, melons, strawberries and others , it has become imperative to have strict vigilant policies in place to check such disastrous contamination occurrences. On the other hand, it is also important to treat farm workers fairly, to educate them concerning food safety and to make sure that the fresh produce consumers eat are safe. With the aim of combining these three vital aspects of food production, the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) was started by Oxfam America in 2012.  Oxfam America is an organization formed to develop a long term solution to end poverty in the world and bring about positive social change.

EFI is a “project that brings together workers, growers and retailers in the effort to produce better fruits and vegetables”. It has a three-pronged approach to growing and selling safe produce – by providing ‘Assurance’, ‘Accountability’ and ‘Safety’.

While the produce industry is serious about tackling contamination issues and has regulations for preventing them, EFI uses a more ‘grassroots’ approach and is the only certification program that includes standards for labor, pesticides and food safety.  As part of EFI, farm workers are educated about food safety. They are trained to spot any red flags while picking/harvesting produce and report it to a supervisor. Usually, a worker might ignore a sign of contamination (by pesticides and/or pathogens) and continue ‘picking and packing’ in order to fulfill a volume-based incentive. By getting the farm worker to work with the management in the execution of safety measures, EFI imparts a sense of responsibility on the worker to ensure that the produce they pick is safe for consumption.

Another important part of the initiative is ensuring that farm workers are treated fairly and paid appropriately for their work. Workers should be provided access to clean, hygienic facilities in order to minimize contamination. To this end, EFI has a program which trains farm management and workers in matters related to labor, conflict resolution, problem solving and communication across lingual and cultural barriers. Once the ‘EFI Standard’ has been reached in this regard, this trained team then ensures continued compliance to the standard via constant monitoring.

San Diego-based strawberry grower Andrew and Williamson and wholesaler Costco are participating in the pilot project by EFI. A&W has provided strawberries grown with EFI standards to Costco under the Limited Edition label this season. Costco has paid a premium for these strawberries; this ‘bonus’ is passed on to the farm workers, thus providing them an incentive to be vigilant about safety but the Costco consumer will not see this price increase. Due to the EFI effort, there is less wastage due to damage and supply risk contamination, which helps to offset the “premium” cost of the strawberries to Costco. 

Not everyone in the produce business is behind the EFI and there are many who think that there are enough government-mandated regulations in place to ensure food safety and that this will surely in the end raise food prices to the end consumer.

However, the program is finding followers – in both farmers as well as retailers – who believe in the EFI credo: That by ensuring decent living/working conditions for farm workers, educating them and equipping them to be their own “auditors” of food safety, slowly but surely a huge difference can be made in how we grow and sell our produce resulting in minimizing instances of food borne illness.

Kiwifruit – The “Key” To Good Health

Did you know that contrary to popular belief kiwifruit did not originate in the land of the kiwi bird, New Zealand?  Kiwi fruit actually originated in Southern China and were called Yang Tao!  Chinese missionaries brought the kiwifruit to New Zealand in early twentieth century; commercial planting of the fruit, then called Chinese gooseberry, began years later.  In the 1960s, the Chinese gooseberry was renamed kiwi or kiwifruit to honor the native bird of New Zealand. The fruit’s fuzzy brown skin also somewhat resembled that of the kiwi bird.

During the 1960s and ‘70s, the kiwifruit truly ‘arrived’ on the food scene in the USA. Today, California is the top producer of kiwifruit in the country, accounting for almost 95% of the total US crop. It is a versatile fruit that can be eaten as is or added to smoothies, salads, chutneys, baked goods, candies, and soups.   Besides the US and New Zealand , other top producing kiwi countries are Italy, Chile and Greece.

Kiwifruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which has been shown to diminish the severity of arthritis and asthma, and to prevent occurrence of colon cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  It is said to improve mood and boost energy levels; in fact, recent research has demonstrated that eating two kiwifruit a day significantly reduces fatigue and depression. It might be because vitamin C acts on many enzymes responsible for metabolic energy and neurochemical levels.

The fiber content of kiwifruit is high, thereby making them useful in reducing blood sugar levels in diabetics and in removing toxins from the colon. A high-fiber food also helps in reducing cholesterol levels, thus promoting heart health.
It is known that the kiwifruit’s antioxidant properties help to protect cells (and DNA) from the oxidative damage by free radicals; it is suspected that the various carotenoids and flavonoids impart this property.

According to research data, chances of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) can be greatly reduced by having three or more servings of kiwi.

Polyphenols, potassium and vitamin C – all three of which are present in adequate amounts in kiwifruit – act synergistically to protect blood vessels. Thus, eating 2-3 kiwifruit a day helps improve health of the cardiovascular system.

The high potassium in kiwifruit counteracts the negative effects of sodium and maintains electrolyte balance.

Kiwifruit is one of the most alkaline fruits; consumption of it helps to balance acidic foods one consumes. There are many benefits of a healthy acid/alkaline balance in the body, such as healthy skin, restful sleep, and more energy .

The next time you pick up a kiwifruit, look beyond its tiny size and unassuming outer appearance and enjoy a abundantly healthy and tasty fruit!

Heads Up For Japan’s New Regulation!

Beginning March 2014, Japan’s Customs and Tariff Bureau (aka Japan Customs) will be implementing a new rule – the Japan 24 Hour Advance Filing Rule – that applies to all Japan-bound vessel operators and NVOCCs (Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers). The following are the salient features of the ruling:

  • The vessel operator/NVOCC has to electronically submit details of the cargo heading to a Japanese port, “no later than 24 hours prior to departure from its originating port”. This Advance Filing will be apart from the current cargo manifest, which will also be submitted to Japan Customs.
  • For now, in the case of certain neighboring countries/territories such as South Korea, the deadline is relaxed until the time of departure of the vessel (and not 24 hours before, as in all other cases, including the USA).
  • Providing the country name, postal code and telephone number of the shipper, the consignee and the ‘notify party’ addresses will be mandatory.
  • The cargo will have to be described precisely (e.g. “soft fabric toys stuffed with acrylic stuffing” instead of just “toys”) and also must have a minimum 6-digit Harmonized System Code per cargo item.
  • For dangerous cargo, IMDG code or UN number will be obligatory.
  • Depending upon the data provided by the operator, Japan Customs will evaluate the security risk of the cargo and respond with instructions within 24 hours.
  • Penalties for non-compliance to the Advance Filing Rule (AFR) include imprisonment or monetary fine.
  • At this point in time the rule applies to maritime container cargoes only; vacant containers, those loaded on platforms, or transit cargoes are exempt from this rule as of now.

The Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (NACCS) is the authority responsible for processing the data obtained by the 24 Hour Advance Filing, also called JP 24, for the Japan Customs. More detailed information regarding the new policy is available at their website. The Japan Customs website also has comprehensive information about the new ruling.
The testing for this process is scheduled to begin in November 2013; exporters need to start collecting data for this purpose.

The AFR is a result of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) passing an amendment bill in March 2012 to the current customs law requiring information about cargoes headed to Japanese ports. It is believed that implementation of this policy will bring about greater visibility of the supply chains, as it has in countries such as the USA (Importer Security Filing measures) and Canada, which have similar rules already in place. The European Union, China, Israel, and others also have comparable rules in effect, with apparent gains in terms of transparency and better trade opportunities. By adopting the JP 24 policy, Japan too hopes for enhanced security and clarity in its maritime trading operations.

Did You Have A Spirited Halloween? We Did At Noon!

Getting In The Halloween Spirit At Noon!

Robin with Baby Bat Man


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