Ag Today July 26, 2019

Consumer Reports finds potentially deadly bacteria in pre-washed greens [CBS NEWS]

A new report out Friday reveals some leafy greens recently sold at supermarkets were contaminated with a potentially deadly bacteria. Consumer Reports says it tested nearly 284 samples of fresh greens like lettuce, spinach and kale and found six of those samples tainted with listeria….Consumer Reports notes their study is not large enough to draw any conclusions about a specific brand or retailer, but rather is a “snapshot” intended to highlight that more needs to be done to ensure safety.


Economists say Trump administration is overpaying farmers for trade losses [NPR]

If you’re caught in a trade war, it’s good to be a farmer….This week, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue unveiled details of the latest aid package for farmers who’ve lost export sales….In his remarks, Perdue portrayed the payments as a modest contribution toward the enormous losses that farmers have endured….Agricultural economists, however, disagreed….Even last year’s smaller aid package probably overpaid farmers for their trade-related losses, according to a new analysis from the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.


Roundup verdict cut to $87 million from $2 billion [Wall Street Journal]

Bayer AG succeeded in getting a third large trial verdict substantially reduced in litigation over the safety of its signature weedkiller, Roundup. A California state court judge in Alameda County on Thursday trimmed a more than $2 billion award to $86.7 million in the case of a local husband and wife who each blamed non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnoses on Bayer’s product….Judge Winifred Smith denied a request by Bayer to completely throw out the verdict in the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a married couple in their 70s who used Roundup on their San Francisco Bay Area property for 35 years.


Annual air monitoring report for pesticides shows there’s no cause for alarm. [Monterey County Weekly]

Earlier this year, California became the third state to ban the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos….The process of banning it activated a huge range of public health advocates and got a lot of attention, but it is far from the most widely used pesticide in Monterey County. So what is floating around in the air locally? And is there enough of a concentration of any one pesticide to trigger a response? According to the 2018 Air Monitoring Report released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation in July, the answer in Monterey County is, not much.


Fruit starts turning color, signaling grape harvest a month away on North Coast [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

As he walked around zinfandel vines Thursday at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, Ryan Stapleton said he was pleased to see the grapes started turning from green to purple — a harbinger that the wine grape harvest in the North Coast will kick off next month….Like Coppola, vineyards across the region have started to enter a pre-harvest stage called veraison, the French term that describes the ripening of grapes used in red wines as they change color….The big news so far surrounding the upcoming 2019 harvest is that it turns out May showers that came during peak bloom did not affect the wine grape crop as much as feared, growers said.


The quest for a more perfect California avocado [Los Angeles Times]

…The goal of the study is to figure out how people describe the flavor of a good avocado and what components in the fruit contribute to that perceived flavor, said Mary Lu Arpaia, a leading avocado researcher and director of UC Riverside’s avocado breeding program….Their analysis is concentrated on two varieties of avocado, Hass and GEM. The black-skinned Hass variety (rhymes with “class”) is the current gold standard on the market, and accounts for 95% of avocados consumed in the United States. The GEM is a newer species produced out of Arpaia’s lab at UC Riverside, aimed to be better adapted to grow in the San Joaquin Valley, which — if successful — could potentially mean California avocados produced more months of the year.