In the box
Dawson Moore loves apples.
Dawson Moore, pictured on his first birthday last fall, just couldn’t wait until the day when he had enough teeth to bite into a delicious whole apple.
He was photographed at an orchard in Utah by a friend of his parents, Lance and Lynell Moore, who live in Provo.
Dawson’s grandparents Larry and Marla Doman are ranchers at Harrah, Washington. Proud Grandma Doman reports that Dawson loves food in general, and fruit in particular. “He totally enjoys it,” she said. “He thinks apples are wonderful.”
Up in arms over G.A.P.
Dear Good Fruit Grower:
No wonder the growers all over Washington State’s Wenatchee Valley are up in arms. The GlobalGAP auditing process has begun, bringing a global, top-down, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all “fix” to an industry that is not broken.
GlobalGAP was created in Europe to reassure consumers of food safety, and most of the big food retailers in this country have bought into it. It has spawned a cookie-cutter approach that applies one set of standards to all kinds of agriculture in all countries. For instance, the GAP guidelines prohibit domestic animals in food-growing areas. This is common sense for row crops that will be boxed in the field and sent directly to the retailer. But why should an American tree fruit grower be penalized for letting his dog run free in his own orchard, where the fruit grows well up in the tree, and is sent to a packing facility where it will be washed and sanitized (and has never caused a problem)?
America, and especially its tree fruit industry, has the safest food-delivery system in the world, yet GlobalGAP would treat us as no different than a third-world country. Here in the United States, we are used to the free-market concepts of individual hard work, risk, creativity, and reward; not a socialist model of waiting to be told what to do by the bureaucrats. I once created a business slogan, “We build quality in; it's not a result of inspection.”
It appears that GlobalGAP is a way for the big retailers to shift all risk to the growers and processors/packers, but does nothing to provide absolute food safety to the consumer. There is much more opportunity for contamination to occur after the produce hits the retailer: Will the growers be blamed if the store's food handlers don't use good hygiene? And who inspects customers who handle produce with unclean hands?
Contamination at the grower’s end, though most unlikely, could be discovered by random representative sampling when the fruit is received at the warehouse. If a pathogen was found, the fruit would be quarantined, and the grower would find and correct the problem instantly. This would be a common-sense solution that most growers, I believe, would fully support.
The tree fruit industry is delivering a product to retailers that is clean, free of pathogens, and safe to consume. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, especially at the grower’s expense! Our liberty, property rights, and economic well-being should not be eroded by some European socialist’s utopian delusion.