This is an example of a farm record that will follow the commodity throughout the supply chain. Complete and secure.
This is an example of a farm record that will follow the commodity throughout the supply chain. Complete and secure.
Posted in Tracking, Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act, Food Law, Farming, COOL, 21 CFR Part 11 | Tagged FSMA, FDA, Food, recordkeeping, Business, traceability, supply chain, PTI, HarvestMark, Management, Shipping Storage and Logistics, Cloud computing, Business and Economy, Consultants, Lean manufacturing | Leave a Comment »
Consistent with recent years, the Food and Drug Administration inspected just less than 2% of food and feed imports in 2012, according to a new report.
The report said the agency examined 1.9%, or 207,839, of more than 11.1 million food import shipments in fiscal year 2012.
In fiscal year 2012, the FDA reports that imported fresh fruit and vegetables totaled 2.189 million shipments out of a total 11.13 million U.S. imported food shipments, or 19.7% of the total. That compares with 1.92 million shipments of imported fresh fruits and vegetables in fiscal year 2011, which represented 18.5% of total imported food shipments of 10.44 million that year, according to the FDA. FDA defines food shipments to include human food, infant formula/food, animal feed, dietary and food and color additives.
The FDA’s 2012 inspection rate of 1.9% of food import shipments compares with a rate of 2.3% in fiscal year 2011, when the FDA said it examined 243,000 food import shipments out of total imports of 10.43 million. For fiscal year 2010, the FDA physically examined 2.1% of food import shipments, or 206,723 lots out of a total of 9.94 million shipments imported.
However, this year’s report said the FDA’s reach was greater than the percent of imports inspected.
“All import entries are electronically screened using an automated system, which helps field inspectors determine which products pose the greatest risk and, therefore, should be physically examined,” according to the report.
When needed, the report said the FDA can issue import bulletins which trigger greater scrutiny for a product or range of products from a supplier.
The average cost of physically inspecting/sampling is about $160 per field exam and $3,100 per sample analyzed, according to the report.
The FDA also provided statistics on the number of inspections the agency performed on domestic and foreign food facilities. In fiscal year 2012, FDA and the states under contract with FDA inspected (or tried to inspect) 24,462 domestic food facilities, according to the report; FDA officials inspected 1,342 foreign food facilities.
As of October 2012, the FDA said there 172,969 registered domestic food facilities and 285,977 foreign food facilities.
The FDA has identified 22,325 domestic food firms as high-risk. Of that total, the FDA said 11,007 were inspected in fiscal year 2011. In fiscal year 2012, another 8,023 high-risk facilities were inspected (or inspection was attempted), totaling 19,030 or 85% of the total high risk domestic food firms. In addition, another 3,736 firms inspected in fiscal year 2011 were re-inspected (or inspection was attempted) in fiscal year 2012.
In fiscal year 2012, the average FDA inspection cost for a high-risk domestic food facility was $15,500, according to the report. while the non high risk domestic food facility inspection average cost was $9,200. Foreign facility inspections were more expensive, the report said; foreign-high risk food facility inspections averaged $23,000 in fiscal year 2012.
Food facility inspections performed by the Food and Drug Administration cost nearly $200 million in fiscal year 2012 according to the FDA’s annual report to Congress on food imports and food facilities.
The report said the total budgeted money for inspections totaled $198.5 million in fiscal year 2012. Of that total, the FDA said $145.2 million was used for FDA inspections of domestic facilities and $34.7 million for FDA inspection of foreign facilities. In addition to those amounts, the FDA said $18.6 million was provided to state agencies, through contracts, to perform domestic inspections on behalf of FDA. Those figures don’t include the cost of inspections at the border, the FDA said, since those inspections are not performed in registered facilities, according to the report. The agency devotes more than 1,300 full time equivalent staff to conduct inspections and food safety investigations, according to the report.
Your #Thanksgiving dinner brought to you by American Farmers/Ranchers – great infograph provided by the #USDA http://t.co/vtWoO48tWj
Release No. 0225.13
Contact: Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384
Grants extend production season and income opportunities for America’s Farmers
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities designed to give them a competitive business edge.
“U.S. agriculture is connected to one in 12 American jobs, and value-added products from homegrown sources are one important way that agriculture generates economic growth,” Vilsack said. “Supporting producers and businesses to create value-added products strengthens rural economies, helps fuel innovation, and strengthens marketing opportunities for producers – especially at the local and regional level.”
The funding is being made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. They may be used for working capital and planning activities. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000.
Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Funding priority is given to socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers, and to small- to medium-size family farms, or farmer/rancher cooperatives.
The Value-Added Producer Grant program is one of many USDA programs that support the development of strong local and regional food systems as part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Launched in 2009, the initiative strengthens ties between agricultural producers and their local communities, helping meet growing consumer demand and creating opportunities for small business development. Initiatives like this create new income opportunities for farmers, generate wealth that will stay in rural communities, and increase access to healthy, local foods in underserved communities. All of these actions boost local economies.
Today’s announcement comes as more than 1,400 communities nationwide gear up to support Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to championing small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. This year’s Small Business Saturday is Nov. 30.
Rural Development is encouraging applications from Tribal organizations as well as applications that support regional food hubs. Applications supporting value-added activities related to bio-based products are also encouraged.
Since 2009, the Obama Administration has provided agricultural producers with almost $80 million in Value Added Producer Grant assistance that has supported more than 600 innovative, value-added projects.
In Fiscal year 2012, for example, the Mississippi Delta Southern Rural Black Women in Agriculture Association received a $44,000 working capital grant to provide a variety of services in the Delta region. The cooperative delivered oven-bakeable sweet potato fries to local Head Start programs and schools; cut, washed and bagged greens for local restaurants; and delivered sustainably grown and heirloom sweet potatoes to local and specialty grocers regionally and nationwide. The sweet potatoes are processed at the vegetable facility at Alcorn State University, in Lorman, Miss.
The project is supplying emerging markets with locally grown produce to enhance production, marketing and distribution infrastructure among women and minority landowners in persistently poor rural communities.
Additional examples of how VAPGs assist local and regional food producers are available on the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, which is searchable by zip code and key word.
Grant applications are due by Feb. 24, 2014. More information about how to apply is available on page 70260 of the November 25 Federal Register, or by contacting any USDA Rural Development state office.
Secretary Vilsack said that today’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs such as the Value-Added Producer Grant program for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, Vilsack added, saying that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Bill done as soon as possible.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
Once I was introduced while taking a final examination in college by the professor as a new student in the class. Being just a little slow to get to classes was the sign of a procrastinator. I’ve always fought against being one, but I’ve always come to accept that we are a nation of procrastinators.
That national trait was on display this past week, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave everybody an extra week to comment on the produce and preventive control rules for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Many were obviously counting on FDA putting additional time on the comment clock after the Regulation.gov website started sputtering on the eve of the original Nov. 15 deadline. But who would have guessed that almost another 2,000 would comment on the produce rule and almost another 1,000 on the preventative controls rules – and would make the extended deadline?
Who would have guessed that so many would take it down to the wire? Final counts are 13,461 comments on the produce rule and 6,181 on preventive controls. A crush of comments also came in just ahead of the original Nov. 15 deadline.
Much of the credit for generating this response—albeit at the final moment–goes to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Relatively late in the process, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture joined by the United Fresh Produce Association came up with the strategy of persuading FDA to issue a second set of these rules.
But it was left to NSAC to pull the cord on a truly grassroots campaign to get the job done. This organization did something fairly rare in that it educated and activated its members to make specific criticism without challenging the basic underpinnings of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.
This means FDA is going to have its work cut out for it as many of those nearly 20,000 comments it has to review are going to be from serious players. And we procrastinators do know how to pour it on. NSAC’s own comments on the produce rule, turned on the last day, run 180 pages.
“NSAC’s comments on the proposed regulations reflect the concerns of sustainable and organic farmers and food businesses that are pioneering farming practices and food supply chains to increase consumer access to healthy food, sustain the environment, and create new economic opportunities,” said Ariane Lotti, NSAC’s Assistant Policy Director. “NSAC’s recommendations are aimed at improving the regulations so that they advance food safety goals while simultaneously supporting sustainable agriculture and food systems. As proposed, the regulations will severely restrict the use of sustainable farming practices, inhibit diversification and innovation in farming and short supply chains, and fail to provide workable, affordable options for family farmers.”
“The proposed regulations fail to meet the requirements that Congress set forth in FSMA for a flexible approach that reflects different risks at different scales and supply chains” added Lotti.
Mike Taylor, who heads up the food side of FDA, has been doing his own “listening” tours of farms and produce businesses. Now he and his people have much to wade through that comes from he folks who will be most impacted by these rules.
“NSAC is grateful for the agency’s outreach during the comment period, and looks forward to continuing to work with FDA to craft flexible, science-based regulations that support agricultural diversity and a healthier food system,” said Lotti. “Supporting thriving local and regional food systems and ensuring a safe food supply are complementary, not competing, goals.”
As all of us procrastinators know, in the end, no one remembers when the work was turned in or who was in attendance at what class. It’s the outcomes that are important. And for the record, I got in A in that class.
@pamelasweeten: If it weren’t for #farmers and #ag there would be no #food. Quit criticizing with your mouth full. http://t.co/vDmTBA1Qzk
The following was written by Nina Ferretti, she has compelling comments I would like to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading.
Most people in the agricultural industry already know that we comprise less than 2% of the entire population of the United States. We know that each of us roughly feeds 155 people. Many of us have asked people “where does your food come from?” and are pained when the answer is something along the lines of “the store.” Never mind those of us who have opened our farms and homes to agritourists and elementary school field trips who have regularly found ourselves suppressing a cringe or the desire to scream when a child asks “where’s the salsa tree?”
Salsa tree??? What, kid?! What are they teaching you in these schools? What is wrong with your parents?
Why, other than because they’re flat out wrong, do comments and questions like these pain us so? Maybe because it is our lives that we have devoted to the soil, the land, the plants, and the animals. We often build our homes and have spent our entire lives on our piece of dirt. We have grown up here, raised families here, and, quite possibly, over time we have poured literally as much of our blood, sweat, and tears on to it as we have in us.
As humans, we need to realize that they come from a completely different world. Recall that urban sprawl we are so concerned about. They live in the middle of that. No rolling hills with grazing cattle or sheep or neat rows of crops for as far as the eye can see for them. Have you ever seen a grown adult who is seeing cotton for the first time? What about the lightbulb going off when they make the connection with that and the clothes that they are wearing? They lead completely different lives with completely different concerns. They (gasp) know nothing about the farming practices which sustain them. Coincidentally those are the same farming practices on which they are asked to vote.
Indeed, the uneducated consumer is put in a position on a regular basis to make decisions on OUR livelihood. In many cases they make our lives harder based on a small kernel of information that they got off of some piece of propaganda. In this world of fear-based marketing, they know not what they do.
Cut to the old men at the coffee shop, the women at the latest fundraiser, the FFA students at a community event, even the well-meaning industry professionals. I have been present time and again when we are all talking about the need to educate the public. But when the time comes to educate the public, instead of going to the masses, we preach to the choir.
It is easy to speak to others in the industry because they are the ones who are receptive to the message. There isn’t a whole lot of challenging going on. The energy, while it feels as if it is building in these conversations, is a waste. It’s like leaving the lights on when you leave the room. Nothing other than our own egos benefit from complaining to each other.
Agriculturalists need to get out there and have the hard conversations. Especially California’s agriculturalists. Why?
According to the 2010 census, of the most populous cities of the nation, #2 Los Angeles, #8 San Diego, #10 San Jose. A total of seventeen California cities are listed in the top 100. The second most populous state in the nation, Texas, has almost 12 million fewer people than California. Just to shed some light on the situation, 44 out of 50 states have a population smaller than the size of that 12 million person gap.
One more number for you: 36,508,876. If we go by that commonly known agricultural statistic that at most only 2% of the population are farmers, then there are at least thirty six million five hundred eight thousand eight hundred seventy six people in this state alone who are partially if not completely removed from the production of their food, fiber, and lumber. Some know absolutely nothing about it. Yet, here’s the kicker, they are asked to vote on production practices; often on a yearly basis.
The result is that California’s agricultural industry is the most regulated in the nation. The scary fact is that there is a growing trend of businesses, agricultural or not, leaving the state for greener pastures. Production costs are on the rise, largely due to the votes of an uneducated public.
It’s time for agriculturalists to break out of their comfort zone or draw people into it. It’s true, dealing with a public different than yourself is difficult. Different views require different approaches and infinite patience when communicating. Let’s face it, as a people, we are not good at speaking with the public. If we were, this problem would not have escalated this far.
Agriculturalists must seek new information in order to learn to communicate with the public and learn to disseminate information in a way that they can understand. We have long been stewards of the land and now we must be stewards of our profession.
Yes, there is a new, larger crop of agricultural communicators entering the workforce, but these degree programs are in embarrassingly limited supply in California. In fact, they are only in the developmental stages and there is only one established chapter of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow in in the entire state. We cannot wait for these communications professionals to be trained. We need action now. And, even in the future when there will be more trained communicators, they will need the help of farmers and ranchers in a big way to get the message out there; doing anything from being part of public forums to inviting agritourists onto their land.
And not only do we need to speak with the public, but with people and organizations on the other side of the line as well. For example, in 2010, the egg industry sat down with the Humane Society. Many argued that they were going to destroy agriculture as a whole and that they had opened the door to opposing organizations altering the agricultural industry for the worse. What actually happened was that the egg industry came to an agreement with HSUS and were able to set out a list of operational rules that benefitted both parties. More importantly, the egg industry was able to avoid a constant barrage of legal assaults in the future and they are now able to concentrate, not on court room battles, but on producing eggs and growing and improving the industry.
Communication with the public is the only way in which we will be able to keep our industry alive. For the majority of us, it is a new skill. Honestly, many of us chose our profession because we were promised that we would never have to learn that skill. Many of you are happy to take the tractor another round on the back 40 with only your own thoughts to keep you company. Maybe it’s the back of a horse or quad while checking herds that suits you. Those are the lives we love and they offer peaceful tranquility, a sense of accomplishment, and it’s work we’re proud to do. Chances are, it is the opportunity to do this work that you hope to pass down to your children. Bluntly put, it won’t be there for them if you don’t take action now.
Posted in Farming, Food, Food Policy & Law, Government Agencies, food Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged 4H, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, agriculture, California, communication, Dairy, farming, FFA, Food, fruit, Salsa Tree, vegetable | Leave a Comment »