The Packer | Editorial

It doesn’t take a food safety outbreak or pesticide residue report to get the mainstream media to set its sights on fresh produce.

In late March, the industry was attacked for too high of prices and too low of prices. Fresh produce can’t win, it seems, with network TV news programs.

An ABC News report blasted Florida strawberry growers for leaving product in fields to rot rather than take product to market, only to lose money. The industry was greedy for not harvesting the fruit and feeding the hungry, it said.

It went so far as to interview homeless people saying “for shame.”

On the other hand, an NBC News program complained about how high priced some items, such as melons, bell peppers and tomatoes, are, and the strains it puts on consumers trying to eat healthily.

Produce Marketing Association president Bryan Silbermann made himself available for an on-camera interview with NBC explaining price issues, but the news program saw fit to only give him a few seconds.

Never did it mention how inexpensive strawberries are, for instance. Maybe they should watch ABC News.

So what’s the industry to do, sit back and take it?

Mainstream media ignorance can’t be swept away so easily, but it can be addressed, both from industry groups like PMA and United Fresh but also by growers, shippers and retailers.

As much as they may dislike working with media outlets, industry members must continuously work to educate them.

Ignoring this problem won’t make it go away. It will only make it worse.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.