Business & Policy
Courchesne Larose, one of the country’s leading distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables, set an unconventional world record as more than 600 participants gathered to assemble the largest fruit salad ever seen on the planet.
An app that measures grain quality via mobile camera, a virtual shared economy for direct farmer-to-consumer purchasing, and new protein sources from recycled seeds are just a few extraordinary innovations highlighted at this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase.The Ag Innovation Showcase attracts the best and brightest in food and ag startups from around the world. This year, the event will host 14 innovators on the main stage, who will each pitch their solutions to an elite group of food and ag industry and investment professionals in hopes of generating interest, partnerships and funding.“The technologies taking the stage next week really bring to life the 10th year’s theme of ‘farm to plate’,” says Rohit Shukla, founder and CEO of Larta Institute, which has produced the event over the last decade. “All of the companies truly exemplify commercial potential, and we are eager to see their projects up close.”The early-stage technology companies to be featured at this year’s event were selected from more than 50 submissions from around the world, based on their potential for industry transformation, and cover a wide range of ag and farming issues, presenting solutions to current challenges across the sector. Leaders from these startups will share how they are strategically approaching areas as diverse as virtual marketplaces, plant protection, soil health and plant nutrient management, precision agriculture, health and nutrition and the distribution of food.Farmers Market goes digitalFor many urban dwellers in the U.S., a typical weekend morning may include a stroll through the local farmers market to grab their fresh, locally-sourced produce. But now, consumers can access farmer produce anytime, thanks to a wholesale local food distribution mobile app created by FreshSpoke, an Ontario-based start up. The company is on the cutting edge of an economic revolution by taking the concept of a “shared economy” to the next level, opening up food supply chains while making it possible for revenue to flow directly to the wallets of farmers and other producers.Snapping grains, Not selfiesThe process for evaluating grain quality has traditionally taken five to 10 days, but can now be done in only five minutes. Argentina-based agtech innovator ZoomAgri has revolutionized grain and oilseed quality determination by bringing AI technology to a simple mobile phone app that captures grain images, analyzes the image in a database, and provides users with grain information in real time.At the showcase, ZoomAgri will be sharing the latest on its upcoming launch of two new cutting-edge products, ZoomBarley and ZoomSpex, which focus on the detection of (spacing) barley, corn and soy grains. “ZoomAgri ́s well balanced mix of engineers, former business executives, and an agronomist allows us to provide solutions from several angles and unique views,” says cofounder Jaap Rommelaar.Gene editing for the future of foodThe food and ag industry are under pressure to produce higher and more nutritive yields, while at the same time struggling to combat herbicide resistant weeds and pests that ever increasingly tax their fields. New advancements in seed engineering and gene stacking may offer a better way to grow with more resilient, positive outcomes. Plastomics is a St. Louis-based gene editing company that has created a unique technology that delivers specialized traits to the chloroplasts of plant cells (tiny energy factories that convert the sun's energy into storable energy-rich molecules of sugars). This technology allows for easy combination of useful traits, reduced development times and costs, and overall improved outcomes for farmers, consumers, and the environment.“At Plastomics, we want to ensure that the future population has access to nutritional food to support a healthy life,” says Sharon Berberich, Plastomics CEO and a founding showcase committee member whose been involved with AIS since its first event in 2009.Over its decade-long history, 97 per cent of showcase presenters have been introduced to new partnership opportunities, and 83 per cent found new investor leads. Presenting companies have collectively raised more than $1.1 billion after their Showcase debut.“We’re especially proud to be able to present these innovations to our audience, selected via a rigorous jury process,” says Shukla. “All of the companies solve real problems facing the most critical of sectors, and have great relevance to buyers, investors and partners.”
Courchesne Larose, one of the country’s leading distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables, is planning big things to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. Over the next 100 days, a host of activities will be held to mark the occasion in a very special way.Members of the public will be invited to play a part in the festivities, as the centennial celebrations culminate with a huge event for the whole family on Oct. 5, at Montréal’s Olympic Stadium, where Courchesne Larose and its partners will attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest fruit salad ever assembled.100 days of festivitiesThe Courchesne Larose centennial celebrations kicked off on Sept. 8 at a major event bringing together hundreds of the company’s employees—the team that is helping to build the success stories of the next 100 years—along with their families.On Oct. 17, a tribute will be paid to the late Louis-Charles Routhier, former owner of Courchesne Larose, whose outstanding commitment to society will be recognized by the community organization Je Passe Partout, which is working to reduce the school dropout rate in the borough of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.The idea of giving back to the community, which is a core company value, will feature prominently in these 100 days of celebrations. On Nov. 5, Courchesne Larose will proudly act as official fruit and vegetable supplier and a major partner of La Grande Tablée, a benefit evening that will see a gourmet meal served to some 700 guests in both Montréal and Québec City, with profits supporting development of La Tablée des Chefs’ cooking education programs for young people.Next, for the Grande Guignolée des médias on Dec. 6, the extended Courchesne Larose family will join the collective movement to gather food items to help thousands of needy families over the Holidays.The 100 days of celebrations will wrap up on Dec. 16 with the company’s traditional Holiday party, at which a new employee-development initiative will be launched.“A century of success doesn’t happen by itself, so it was important for us that these celebrations include all those whose unfailing support and co-operation have played a role in our accomplishments during that time: the members of our outstanding team, along with our loyal partners,” explains Alain Routhier, president, Courchesne Larose.Besides the activities planned for employees and partners who help ensure the company’s success, the true high point of the celebrations promises to be reached at a special event on Oct. 5, at which the Courchesne Larose team, in collaboration with La Tablée des Chefs, First Fridays, Moisson Montréal, and Loop Juice will try to set an unusual Guinness World Record.The “Grande Coupe:” 20,000 pounds of fruit for a good causeBecause it’s not every day that a company celebrates 100 years, Courchesne Larose plans to make history with a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest fruit salad ever assembled.On Oct. 5, members of the public are invited to the Esplanade Sun Life Financial outside Olympic Stadium for the “Grande Coupe”, a one-of-a-kind festive family event, where an enormous fruit salad weighing more than 20,000 pounds will be concocted in an attempt to beat the previous record set in Vienna, Austria, in 2014. The event will be held as part of First Fridays, the largest gathering of food trucks in Canada.The initiative is also for a good cause: the giant fruit salad will be divided up and distributed to community groups serving Montréal’s neediest citizens, via the Moisson Montréal network and the Tablée des Chefs food recovery program.A family affairThe history of Courchesne Larose is inseparable from that of the Routhier family: going back to the company’s early years with Raoul Routhier at its helm, family members have contributed significantly to its growth. Courchesne Larose’s impressive development continued under the leadership of Louis-Charles Routhier, and it now distributes fresh, quality fruits and vegetables to every corner of Québec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.“It’s truly impressive looking back at where this great story began, with a small business selling apples and hay in the east end of Montréal, and seeing how we’ve grown into one of the largest fruit and vegetable distributors in the country,” adds Routhier. “If they were still with us, our father and grandfather would have good reason to be proud!”A century later, the Courchesne Larose Group employs more than 500 people. The company’s third generation of leaders is now well established, and it is grooming the next generation to take over one day in the future.“Many wonderful projects await Courchesne Larose over the medium and longer term,” the Routhier brothers add, concluding: “And to guide our company in its second century, we’ll be looking to the fourth generation of the Routhier family, who will be called on to assume greater responsibilities in the years to come. We’re not ready to pass the torch just yet, but we’re already paving the way, to make sure Courchesne Larose continues to write success stories for at least 100 more years!”About Courchesne LaroseA major player in the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry for more than 100 years, Courchesne Larose Ltd. is a family owned business and the flagship of Courchesne Larose Group. Its primary mission is to give its providers the biggest showcase and the finest possible distribution network for their fruits and vegetables in Eastern Canada, and allow its customers to enjoy diversified, quality products year-round. Courchesne Larose’s suppliers are based all over the world, while its customers are located right across Canada as well as on the U.S. East Coast.
A new Wallaceburg food manufacturing facility is being heralded as great news by the agricultural community.Whyte’s Foods will spend $16.5 million redeveloping a Wallaceburg property. The company has purchased the former ECR International Ltd., Olsen Division factory on Baseline Road. They plan to make the existing structure into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, with operations beginning in the fall of 2019.The Quebec-based company expects to create nearly 100 permanent year-round jobs in Wallacebureg. They are Canada’s largest producer of pickles, relish and maraschino cherries.Many Chatham-Kent farmers already supply Whyte’s food manufacturing plant in Quebec with cucumbers and hot peppers. Whyte’s has a manufacturing plant in Quebec, but they must truck in a lot of cucumbers and peppers. A secondary plant in Wallaceburg will allow Whyte’s to produce so much more at harvest. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
BASF recently closed the acquisition of Bayer’s global vegetable seeds business, mainly operating under the brand Nunhems. The transaction adds a well-recognized brand with a very successful business track record to BASF’s portfolio. The acquired vegetable seeds business comprises 24 crops and about 2,600 varieties. It also includes well-established, strong research and development and breeding systems with over 100 unique breeding programs in more than 15 crops.The addition of the vegetable seeds business enhances BASF’s global offer to farmers. It strengthens BASF’s seed platform and complements the recently expanded Agricultural Solutions portfolio, which includes seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming.This closing completes BASF’s acquisition of a significant range of businesses and assets with combined 2017 sales of €2.2 billion, which Bayer offered to divest in the context of its takeover of Monsanto. The all-cash purchase price amounts to a total of €7.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing.
Interfresh, Inc., a leading national marketer of fruits and vegetables, recently announced that company has started marketing Driediger Farms’ blueberries. In addition, the company announced the launch of its new website.Driediger Farms, based in Langley, British Columbia, is a leading grower/packer of blueberries since 1964. Interfresh started shipping blueberries in early August, and is marketing them under the Driediger Farms label to the Western U.S. market.“We are very pleased to be associated with Driediger Farms and their outstanding team,” said Carolyn Chang, director of berry programs for Interfresh. “We are looking forward to supplying our retail and foodservice customers with these excellent berries.”“Rhonda Driediger and her team do a fabulous job producing and packing very high-quality fruit for the fresh market,” said Chris Puentes, president of Interfresh. “This new BC deal extends our season nicely, and complements our ‘Pacific Berry Farms’ program of US-grown blueberries, blackberries and strawberries”.Interfresh is shipping Driediger Farms blueberries both FOB British Columbia and from the Interfresh Distribution Center in Los Angeles.In addition to the new marketing announcement, the company also officially launched their new website at www.getinterfresh.com.“The new site more accurately portrays our position in the supply chain as a marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables and celebrates the fact that Interfresh has been delivering fresh produce solutions to our customers for more than 30 years – we call it ‘30 Years of Fresh Ideas,’” added Puentes.
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Inc. (NAFDMA) has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director. This appointment comes after Charlie Touchette, who provided NAFDMA with association management services for nearly 20 years, formally concluded his tenure effective May 1, 2018. The selection of Connors was made after an extensive national search overseen by the NAFDMA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to formally announce Corey’s appointment,” said Tom Tweite, President of NAFDMA.Connors joins NAFDMA with over 17 years of leadership experience in the agriculture, retail and attractions industries. Most recently, he served as chief staff executive of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA). Prior to NCNLA, he served in advocacy roles for several prominent national and international trade groups including the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Connors holds a Master of Arts in Political Management from the George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University.“It is a genuine privilege and honor to serve this dynamic, growing industry,” said Connors. “Agritourism and farm direct marketing provide an unparalleled opportunity for consumers to reconnect to the family farm, creating unique experiences and rare opportunities to make precious memories.” He continued, “Our charge is clear: NAFDMA must provide cutting-edge tools and resources that support our community of innovators who seek to grow farm profitability while providing immeasurable benefits to their hometown.”Connors begins his tenure at NAFDMA under a new operating structure, with the organization previously hiring on two additional direct employees last fall. This positions the association to have a stronger pulse on industry trends and will provide the opportunity to launch new member-focused programs and services. The first employees hired by NAFDMA include Membership Development and Services Manager, Lisa Dean and Education and Operations Manager, Jeff Winston.“Interacting with motivated farm operators and entrepreneurs is rewarding. It is truly my pleasure to service our members,” said Dean.“Having worked for this industry over the past five years, I’m excited to elevate the educational offerings that NAFDMA provides to each of its members,” said Winston.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently released a report that details the important contribution rural municipalities make and outlines the unique challenges they face. The comprehensive report titled Rural Challenges, national opportunity – Shaping the future of rural Canada includes recommendations encouraging the federal government to tackle these challenges head-on and raise Canadians’ quality of life nationwide.“When it comes to providing the infrastructure necessary to support a strong economy and high quality of life, rural governments are faced with two key problems—the challenge of serving dispersed communities and the limits of their fiscal and administrative capacity,” said FCM’s rural forum chair, Ray Orb.The report provides recommendations to address the realities rural municipalities face. Key recommendations of this report include: Applying a ‘rural lens’ to all federal policies and programs aimed at empowering smaller communities to better support local needs Designing future rural infrastructure programs that provide long-term predictable funding with flexibility to account for rural realities Committing long-term predictable resources to expanding broadband internet access in rural, northern and remote communities “This report tells the story of the significant contribution rural municipalities make to the nation’s economy, but it also highlights the fiscal squeeze they face due to low population densities and the exodus of younger generations,” added Orb. “But as a key driver of economic growth, we know that investing in rural Canada means building a better country for everyone.”FCM is leading the way in advocating for new tools that empower rural communities to build tomorrow’s Canada and has secured unprecedented federal investment in recent years. The full report is available here.The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
AgSafe, formerly known as Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), is celebrating their 25th anniversary as British Columbia’s agriculture health and safety association.Established in May of 1993, AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for B.C.’s agriculture industry and offers site-specific health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services. AgSafe is also a COR program certifying partner and offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers.The organization was established as a joint initiative of WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia), the BC Agriculture Council and the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union as B.C.’s experts on workplace safety for the agriculture industry.Wendy Bennett has been the AgSafe executive director since 2015. “I am really happy to be in this position and celebrating this milestone,” Bennett commented. “I’m proud of AgSafe and the work our team does. Our consultants and advisors work hard to deliver safety information and guidance to hundreds of employers and workers around the province every year, and we’ve seen a significant change over the past twenty-five years with better safety practices for those who work in agriculture.”Don Dahr, former WorkSafeBC Director of Industry and Labour Services, is the newly elected chair of the AgSafe Board of Directors replacing long-time retiring chair, Ralph McGinn.“I’ve been involved with, and supported this organization for many years,” says Dahr. “As a non-voting member on the AgSafe Board of Directors for five years my role was to provide guidance on issues affecting agriculture and safety initiatives. Over the years I’ve watched the organization make great strides in developing and offering safety resources and consultation to B.C.’s farmers and ranchers.”Just over half of B.C.’s agriculture industry employers regularly use services, resources, or information from AgSafe and almost two thirds of agriculture employers have accessed AgSafe resources periodically.AgSafe’s services are also available to B.C. based landscape trades and professionals, garden centres, wholesale and retail nurseries, suppliers, and tree services.For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca.
My husband is always reminding me not to read the online comment sections of news articles. “They’ll only aggravate you,” he says, before listing off the numerous times I’ve almost had a stroke yelling at my computer screen.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members from across the province met this week to discuss the agri-food sector’s potential for growth, vote for leadership of the organization and address related challenges facing the industry.
Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage will remain the highest in Atlantic Canada when it increases by 70 cents to $12.25 per hour on April 1, 2019.
The Greenbelt Fund is partnering with the Wallace Centre and Farm Credit East to undertake this Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Survey based on their past successful surveys in the United States.With your help, we can benchmark Ontario’s food hub sector to help us all better understand where the food hub sector is headed, and help individual hub operators such as yourself understand how to get on, and stay on, the path to long-term financial success.Large companies develop or access benchmarks by hiring consulting firms to conduct research on their competitors. We want to have the data collected so that key benchmarks of the sector can be shared with all of you to help you grow your businesses and build stronger, more sustainable food systems.How to participate in the survey: You’ll complete a brief survey and submit your financial data for analysis. This process is completely confidential (The Greenbelt Fund and Wallace Centre never sees any individual data) and protected by Farm Credit’s bank-level security. To ensure that you’re ready to participate in the survey, please review the Wallace Center’s free Financial Fundamentals for Food Hubs webinar series, in which Farm Credit East staff demonstrate how to set up and manage your key financial information. Your hub will receive an individualized benchmark report, comparing your individual hub performance to the sector, and guidance on how to use the findings of the survey as a decision-making and goal-setting tool. Once the data are analyzed and findings documented the Greenbelt Fund will host a webinar on the findings in early 2019. The deadline to complete the online survey is November 30, 2018Each hub participating in the study is automatically entered to win a RoboCoupe Food Processor – a handy item for food hub operators that prepare, cut, slice, and dice local food! One winner will be selected from the survey participants.For more information, click here.
Ontario is open for business: the government is acting to bring jobs and investment back to our province by lightening the burden on business and making sure that hard work is rewarded.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) welcomes the recent announcement made by the Ontario government outlining its plans for Bill 148.
Agriculture is essential to the rural way of life on Prince Edward Island. Governments remain committed to the continued expansion and success of the PEI agricultural sector by ensuring producers have the tools they need to manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms.
Canadian farmers and food processors across the country work hard every day to put safe, high-quality food on our tables, while driving our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. Farming can provide an amazing lifestyle with great rewards, but it can also be hard on mental health. Farmers and their families often face high levels of stress because of forces that are beyond their control, such as weather, disease, commodity prices, and trade.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) welcomes the recent announcement by the Canadian government whereby it is providing targeted relief from the federal carbon tax on fuels for heating greenhouses. This targeted relief is a positive step by the federal government to recognize the unique needs of domestic food production.The greenhouse vegetable sector has quickly become an economic driver in the province, generating over $920 million in farmgate sales in 2017. Using modern and efficient technologies, Ontario greenhouse growers are able to produce fresh product year-round in Canada’s northern climate, complementing Ontario’s bountiful field grown fruit and vegetable production. Without relief, carbon pricing has the potential to negatively impact the competitiveness of greenhouse and field production of fruits and vegetables, both of which compete in the global marketplace.“The reality is that farmers have already been incentivized to become energy efficient as it has been necessary to remain competitive,” says Jan VanderHout, chair of the OFVGA. “Today, we thank the federal government for recognizing the specific needs of greenhouse production.”The OFVGA looks forward to ongoing dialogue with the federal and Ontario provincial governments to support all of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers as stewards of the air, land and water that they depend on to contribute to Canada’s food security and the economy.
Canadians are seeing the costs of climate change first hand, from wildfires in the west to floods in the east, smoke that makes the air unsafe to breathe and heatwaves that endanger the young and the elderly. We need to act now to fight back against climate change, for our children and grandchildren.
Draft regulations concerning fuel costs and GHG emissions have addressed some of farmers' concerns, but gaps remain, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is keen to work with governments to develop new programs that will support the agriculture sector going forward.
A CanadaGAP requirement regarding qualifications for internal auditors for program participants enrolled in group certification (Option A3 and Option B) will be changing effective April 1, 2020.
Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable.
Food business owners across Canada can now apply for a licence under the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations by accessing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s online portal, My CFIA. These regulations will protect Canadian families by making the food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.
CanadaGAP, an internationally recognized food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, has successfully achieved recognition against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Version 7.1 benchmarking requirements.The recognition encompasses three CanadaGAP certification options: B, C, and D (for repacking and wholesaling).Heather Gale, executive director, comments that "CanadaGAP appreciates the rigour of the GFSI benchmarking process. GFSI recognition of CanadaGAP provides the fruit and vegetable industry the option to implement a made-in-Canada program that meets GFSI's high standard and satisfies the food safety requirements of customers in domestic and international markets."Jack Bates, chair of the board for CanadaGAP, adds that "GFSI recognition will allow CanadaGAP-certified companies to remain competitive and maintain access to customers who require certification to a GFSI-recognized food safety program."Scope of GFSI RecognitionCanadaGAP has been GFSI-recognized for certification options B and C since 2010. Option D (for repacking and wholesaling) was originally recognized by GFSI in 2016. Re-benchmarking is required each time GFSI updates its benchmarking requirements.Recognition of the three CanadaGAP certification options has once again been granted for the following GFSI scopes: BI - Farming of Plants D - Pre-process Handling of Plant Products (includes packing/repacking and related activities such as cooling, trimming, grading, washing, storage, etc.).
When plants are growing outdoors, it’s no surprise that they are at risk for pest activity. But even once produce is harvested and brought inside for storage and packaging, it can fall victim to pests’ appetites. In fact, pest infestations that are established during storage can put your produce at increased risk, as it is easy for pests to move and spread quickly in the closed environment.While a pest infestation in the field might be obvious as plants show signs of fatigue, develop deformations or die, an infestation in the warehouse can pass under the radar if it is not monitored. So, it’s important for your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to include strategies for protecting your fruits and vegetables as you prepare them for storage and shipment. IPM strategies focus on preventive techniques, like exclusion, maintenance and sanitation and use sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to manage and control pests.Fresh fruits and vegetables are vulnerable to pest infestations because of their succulence and the aroma they produce. Pests can infest produce items at any point in the supply chain, and improper packaging can make it easier for them to access your produce. Here are some of the most common pests that attack harvested fruits and vegetables:SpidersSpiders prey on insects and are naturally inclined to be found on foliage and vegetation. Therefore, harvested produce will harbour spiders. While in the field, spiders do help keep insect populations in check, but you don’t want them on your produce when it gets packaged and shipped.SpringtailsSpringtails are tiny insects that jump around when disturbed. They are attracted to moisture, dampness and humidity. They normally live in damp soil and feed on mold and fungi. So, naturally they will be found concealed in foliage and on plant stems, especially on vegetables that grow at soil level. As a result, they can easily make their way into packaged produce once harvested.Fruit FliesAs their name suggests, fruit flies are attracted to ripening and fermenting fruits and vegetables. Female fruit flies lay their eggs under the surface of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a detailed inspection of random samples of fruits and vegetables to detect eggs and larvae is crucial to preventing a pest infestation in your processing and storage facilities. Sampled fruits should be cut through and examined for eggs and larvae, which are visible to the eyes.Indian Meal MothsWhile they only feed on dried fruits and vegetables, Indian meal moths are the most common stored product pest in food-handling facilities, homes and grocery stores. They are primarily attracted to dry foods and can damage products as their larvae spin silk webbing that accumulates fecal pellets and cast skins in the food. Common signs of an Indian meal moth infestation include the silk webbing, buildup of droppings in the food product and pupal cocoons along walls, shelving and ceilings.PreventionOnce harvested and packed, fruits and vegetables must continue to breath to maintain their freshness. So, packaging often has aeration pores that can make produce vulnerable to pest attacks, and it is difficult to find packaging that is impervious to all pest activity. However, there are some packaging materials that should be avoided for produce.Wooden containers can harbour wood boring insects. When exposed to moisture, they also can rot or cause mold and fungal growth that attracts insects which can spread and infect the packed produce. Rough, wooden boxes or bamboo like packaging can cause bruising and damage produce, which attracts insects. Materials less capable of withstanding stress also can damage produce, as they are vulnerable to tears, which can expose or damage the fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right type of packaging for your produce.In addition to avoiding these materials, keep an eye out for packaging that doesn’t seal properly. Even the best packaging doesn’t stand a chance if it’s not closed all the way or has a hole. At the end of the day, your goal should be to make it as difficult as possible for pests to reach your fruit and vegetable products.Fruit and vegetables are susceptible to pest infestations while they are growing. And once in storage, it’s easy for a pest infestation to spread quickly – especially with such an abundance of food for the pests to thrive on. So, it’s important to take steps to manage infestations in the field and to establish controls to help prevent infestations from being brought inside and spreading once in storage.In the field: Pest prevention starts with Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in the field that reduce conditions conducive to pest infestations. Extensively monitor for pest activity by inspecting or scouting plants regularly during growing season to catch infestations early. Reduce pest attractants by practicing good sanitation (phytosanitation) and eliminating onsite harbourage sites such as weeds, piles of compose, standing water and idle unused equipment. Remove fallen, overripe or rotting fruits from the fields, as this could attract fruit flies and other pests. At time of harvest, inspect extensively for insects and spiders on produce. Harvest produce when they are dry. This prevents pest and diseases from clinging on them. Clean and sanitize harvest equipment, bins and tools before and after harvesting. Avoid or prevent bruising of produce. The bruising attracts insect pests, especially fruit flies. In processing and storage:As a first step, implement these post-harvest handling practices:Sanitation Have written cleaning and sanitation operating procedures for equipment and the facility. Clean and sanitize packaging, handing bins and equipment regularly to prevent build-ups and habourages. Regularly clean spills or trapped produce, especially in hard to reach areas and dead voids in packaging conveyer machines and equipment footing, as well as under and inside pallets. Ensure floor drains have undamaged cover grids or traps to prevent trapping fruits and vegetables in the drain. This creates a breeding ground for fruit flies, drain flies and phorid flies. Using drain brushes, mechanically clean floor drains at least every two weeks or so. Ensure the floor is void of cracks and tile gaps. The floor should be smooth and level for effective cleaning. Practice good fruit and vegetable waste management to avoiding attracting pests and creating harbourage sites. Exclusion Air curtains, sensor doors and roll-up doors keep flies from entering into processing or storage areas. Install pest monitors like insect light traps and pheromone traps. Repair screens and weather stripping around doors and windows. Storage and Shipping Use the first-in, first-out rule for storing and distributing products to avoid fermentation. Keep products off the floor on racked shelves. Keep products refrigerated when you can. Temperature regulation and maintaining your cold storage system keeps the produce fresh and keeps pests away. Allow proper illumination and ventilation to keep moisture down and discourage pest activity. Avoid crisscross movement of packed produce to prevent pest contamination. Ensure transportation vehicles are clean and temperatures are regulated. Inspect packaging for pest activity prior to loading and shipping. In addition to these preventive steps, be sure to monitor pest activity closely – indoors and outdoors. This will help you identify trends and adjust your pest management program to meet the unique needs of your property. You should also talk with your pest management provider about your process for storing and packaging food. They can offer recommendations specific to the types of produce you grow and help adjust your pest control program accordingly.Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is a quality assurance manager with regulatory and lab services with Orkin Canada.
AAFC updates pest management websiteThe Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) website is undergoing a renovation,…
Safe Food for Canadians licences now available for food businessesFood business owners across Canada can now apply for a…
Corn salvage benefit for DON in 2018The corn salvage benefit for 2018 covers cases where DON…
Government of Canada supports efforts to improve mental and physical wellbeing of farmersCanadian farmers and food processors across the country work hard…
Innovative Farmers of Ontario - Marketing workshop Wed Dec 19, 2018
The SouthWest Agricultural ConferenceThu Jan 03, 2019
Potato Expo 2019Wed Jan 09, 2019
Webinar: Water Management and Water QualityWed Jan 09, 2019