Inside this Food Report


October 1, 2015

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Hello Everyone,

Happy Halloween! Fall is here... My favorite time of year, the cooler crisp weather, the beautiful fall colors and lots of pumpkins!

We certainly have been busy traveling the United States to watch production of the crops. From the Midwest to the Northwest we have been there. We were in a cornfield just yesterday and believe me everyone is pretty much ready to be done with the harvest. It has been a long and hot season.

Corn harvest almost done!
I have heard a lot about the condition of the potatoes here in the Northwest this year. There have been reports of smaller potatoes and defects due to the summer heat. However I can say what I saw this week in one potato factory in Washington State were large beautiful potatoes which were resulting in a very nice final product of a straight cut French Fry.

In just 9 days Jose and I will be arriving to Germany to attend the Anuga Exhibition in Cologne and hope to see many of our suppliers and customers there. We will be bringing back all the exciting new food trends that we find and will keep you posted!

Until next time, Happy Autumn!

Betty And The Noon International Team


United States: Sweet corn harvest in Oregon and Washington is winding down with about 1/3rd of the crop left to harvest. All processors should be completed by middle October (around October 20th). Weather is still warm during the daytime, however night time temperatures have dropped to as low as 30 degrees in some areas so there have been some pockets of freeze and processors are hurrying to finish harvest as soon as possible. Yields and quality on sweet corn are good this season with no major issues to report.

Dice Carrot production began this week in Oregon and Washington and to date it looks like an average harvest.

Potato harvest is progressing quickly and there are still reports of a smaller yield this season due to warmer weather conditions.

The Northwest green pea market remains tight with prices up and volumes very short on AAA grade peas.

The Midwest is just about finished with their sweet corn harvest with good yields and quality.

Berry season in the Northwest is fully completed. Quality is reported as good, however fruit size is a bit smaller than usual due to the heat this season.

Mexico: Rainy season in Mexico has been ongoing and all processors are struggling with their Cauliflower crops. Some same this has been the worst season for cauliflower in recent memory. Many processors are trying to buy cauliflower elsewhere to make up for their shortages and to keep their buyers in stock. Anticipated improvement is not expected until November. Mexico’s broccoli crop has not been as affected by rain and there is supply of broccoli available.

Guatemala: While Guatemala certainly received more rain this season than last season broccoli yields are still a bit down and there have been some shipment delays.

Chile: Asparagus season has begun and to date weather conditions have been favorable and the outlook is for a good quality crop. Chile expects a good blueberry crop this season, however prices are expected to rise due to higher grower prices. On September 16th Chile experienced an earthquake . The 8.4 magnitude quake, which hit about 177 miles north of Santiago, is reported to have no affect on Chile’s berry crops.

Peru: Due to El Nino the unseasonably high temperatures in Peru will affect Peru’s asparagus crop.

India: El Nino and lack of adequate rain during monsoon season will affect thousands of acres of India’s sugar crop.

Europe: As reported last month Europe’s vegetables are in short supply due to a season of drought, heat and winds. Major shortages are reported for peas and carrots with higher prices on sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes (French frys). Clarebout Potatoes, the largest French fry manufacturer in Belgium, was totally destroyed by fire in September. The impact of this, in our opinion, will surely result in a firmer and higher priced French fry from Europe.


Fujian Province: Autumn crop edamame is underway. Growth is average with stable price.

Zhejiang Province: Edamame production is finished. Plantings of broccoli and cauliflower have increased in this area. Growing conditions have been good.

Shandong Province: Edamame harvest is completed . Less rain resulted in lower blemish level and better quality. Prices are stable. Broccoli season will begin this month. Taro harvest has begun. Planting area has been increased by 30% - 40% and it is now estimated that prices for Taro will decrease. Pepper yields declined about 10% - 15% this season due to summer drought conditions. This lead to a 10% increase in price for peppers.

New FDA Food Laws Become Final

Last month, the FDA announced new measures being taken to prevent the outbreak of food-borne illness, which impacts an estimated 48 million Americans per year. The new legislation, a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law almost 4 ½ years ago, will make manufacturers take a proactive approach to preventing outbreaks, rather than attempting to manage outbreaks after the fact. The regulations will be implemented next summer, and comes on the heels of a few high profile outbreaks.

The changes were prompted by the 3,000 deaths caused by food-borne illness each year; a number the FDA believes could be greatly reduced with more effective monitoring and action. This year, two outbreaks put current regulations under the microscope after both caused fatalities. Last month, a salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico put seventy consumers in the hospital, and two died. Earlier in the year, Blue Bell Creameries closed down after a listeria contamination caused three deaths.

The new regulations don’t cover fresh produce, and apply only to processed foods. A rule on produce won’t be finalized until later in the year. It took five years of negotiations with foreign governments, farms, and importers to result in the current rules being implemented.

Under the new regulations, manufacturers will be required to compile a guide to points in the production process that could pose a risk to food safety, and then come up with ways to monitor and target any problems. They will also need to keep comprehensive, written records of safety activity, and the FDA will be able to enforce the measures with greater authority and more frequent inspections. These are all moves that put focus not on how outbreaks are managed, but on how those outbreaks can be stopped before they occur.

Our large food producers already have very sophisticated methods in place to control pathogens, such as regular swabbing of the production lines and floors. However the new laws will now require food producers to allow the FDA to review their records and the FDA will now inspect high risk factories every 3 to 5 years instead of every 10 years. The FDA will also have the authority to shut down a factory when they feel their procedures are not adequate.

Carrying out the new regulations by the FDA will be difficult without government funding and the Obama administration has asked for 109.5 million in additional funding for fiscal year 2016. It is anyone’s guess on how this will all play out.

Eat A Rainbow Everyday!

Putting together a healthy diet takes more than just stocking your fridge with your favorite fruits and veggies. In fact, eating too much of one will not have nearly as much benefit as eating a well-rounded selection of produce. An easy way to get the variety you need is to think COLOR! You should always see a vibrant and full rainbow of colors!

The colors of food don’t signify all the health benefits of that fruit or vegetable but it can tell you quickly some of the vitamins and nutrients under the colorful skin. Here’s a handy guide to help you start packing your fridge with all the colors of the rainbow, and what those colors mean!

Red: Red fruits and vegetables tend to have lycopene, elegiac acid, hesperidin, fiber, and Vitamins A and C. Some of the benefits these rosy hued foods provide include protection against heart disease and reduced risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and stronger joints.

Green: These giants have a ton of nutrients, including one that might surprise you. Chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, calcium, folate, and Vitamin C all probably sound about right. But did you know they also have beta-carotene? Along with protecting your vision and eye health, green produce reduces the risk of cancer, strengthens your immune system, and aides digestion.

Yellow: Orange produce falls under the yellow umbrella, and they offer some great benefits. These bright fruits and veggies contain flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Yellow and orange produce helps lower blood pressure, promote collagen formation, and works with calcium to strengthen bones.

Purple: From blueberries to purple potatoes, regally colored produce packs a serious punch. Purple produce can include flavonoids, antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, and calcium. Benefits from these foods include strengthened memory, heart health, and a lowered risk of Multiple Sclerosis.

No, Not My Avocado!

In the past several years, the United States has fallen in love with avocados. The buttery fruit is a staple across the country, finding a home in supermarkets and corner stores alike. It’s also a ubiquitous figure on menus, be it chains like Chipotle or high-end dining. (Did you know that Chipotle’s uses 97,000 avocados a day!) But a combination of factors is threatening the global avocado supply, and our beloved avocado could become very difficult to find in the near future.

Last year, Americans bought around 4.25 billion Haas avocados, the most common type sold in U.S. stores. That’s four times as many as we bought in 2000, and double what we purchased just ten years ago. It’s easy to see why. Avocados are packed with nutrients, including Vitamins K, E, and C, as well as fiber and potassium. On top of being a super food, avocados are also delicious in a wide range of dishes. Demand continues to rise and shows no signs of tapering. Unless, that is, supply gives out or prices become too high.

It’s been about a year since the first red flags were raised about the avocado industry, but today the possibility of a decrease in supply is still very real. A few factors are at play here, each threatening the availability of the avocado. For the United States, the drought in California threatens about 95% of domestically grown avocados, and the ethics of continued avocado production, which requires about 74 gallons of water per pound of fruit, have been called into question.

The strain on domestic production has put increased pressure on imports, many of which come from Mexico and Central America. But farmers are struggling to keep up with the demand, and should California’s supply be cut significantly, the likelihood of countries like Chile being able to fill in the loss is low. Meanwhile, drug cartels are trying to cash in on the $1 billion avocado industry in Mexico, putting farmers in danger of exploitation or death.

Could this spell the end of the avocado trend? Although it seems unlikely now, popularity of other foods have dipped when supply disappears, including the recently mega-food quinoa. But if suppliers hope to keep avocado in our kitchens and on our menus, long and short-term solutions must be found to keep the avocado industry strong.

Happy Halloween From A Corn Field in Idaho!

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