Jul 22, 2011
11:48 AMThe Wind Machine
- First Lady Michelle Obama announced on Wednesday a frontal attack on “food deserts.” This is a trendy term within food circles for those areas of the country having limited access to nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Wal-Mart was one of the big food retailers to prominently endorse the First Lady’s initiative to bring more grocery stores to underserved parts of the country. This is good news for our tree fruit growers and shippers. But what’s in it for Wal-Mart? I think it scores good general publicity points; ingratiates itself politically with the White House; and gains ammunition in its quest to crack open the big urban markets of the Northeast, where local opposition from small local stores and unions to Wal-Mart have hindered its ambitious expansion plans.
- On another Wal-Mart front, Fortune magazine in its July 25 edition contains an interesting article “The Trouble with Green Product Ratings” on the challenges faced by corporate sustainability index initiatives. Wal-Mart was the prime example used for the difficulty, if not impossibility, in coming up with standards for this nebulous word that are environmentally accurate and, at the same time, meaningful to retail customers.
- August is shaping up to be a busy travel month for me. The first week of the month I plan to be in Montreal for a meeting of importance to the continued use of the fumigant methyl bromide as an export quarantine treatment. In the mid-part of August the United States Apple Association holds its annual outlook conference and board of directors’ meeting. And then, earlier this week, I was notified that the United Fresh Produce Association had set a meeting of its Food Safety Regulatory Oversight Committee with the staff of CFSAN, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. This first meeting of United’s new committee, of which I am a member, will be held on August 31 at the headquarters of CFSAN in College Park, Maryland.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “They haven’t come to grips with the big issues,” says Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group. “The low-hanging fruit is good, but you eventually have to get to the top of the tree.” Richard Wolf, USA Today, June 28, 2011.