Europe's fresh produce sector is struggling to regain sales momentum after the E. coli outbreak linked to German sprouts. The Fresh Produce Consortium issued a press release Sept. 19 that proposed one solution. From the release:

 The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) is canvassing the industry’s views on making a bid for EU funding to support a major promotional campaign for UK fresh produce in the EU.

“Following the devastating impact of the recent European E.coli outbreaks on the UK fresh produce industry we are asking our members if they want FPC, on behalf of the industry, to bid for a promotional programme. This could be either a broad campaign or activities tailored to support particular products or sector of our membership,” said Jim Rogers, President of FPC.

The European Commission will co-fund to 50 per cent of promotional and marketing programmes for certain products of EU origin within the EU and is inviting proposals from trade associations and other representative bodies.

FPC is seeking members’ views and the proposals will be discussed by the FPC Council in October. If there is committed support from members then FPC will look to develop a proposal for submission in November.

“We’ve been disappointed by the lack of support from the UK Government to redress the loss of consumer confidence in fresh produce,” commented Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of FPC. “Once again the fresh produce industry is left to help itself, and this EU funding could provide the opportunity to give some much needed assistance to hard pressed sectors of the industry.”


TK: The idea has merit. Even with the 50% match, the challenge would be to create targeted consumer messages that have a chance to be effective with what funds the industry could assemble.


In news from Washington,  the House Judiciary Committee meets this morning to consider the mandatory E-verify bill.

10:15 am     Hearing: H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act; and H.R. 2847, the American
Specialty Agriculture Act Committee on the  Judiciary: Full Committee

Watch the webcast from this link.

The issue of how agriculture will be addressed in the context of mandatory E-Verify is attracting plenty of attention.

This coverage from the Houston Chronicle talks about labor woes in Alabama after an immigration enforcement bill passed in that state. From the story:

About 50 growers packed a truck-stop dining room 45 miles north of Birmingham. They pleaded with three north Alabama lawmakers to amend the law and save what they called the lifeblood of the state's agriculture operations: The Hispanic workers who pick vegetables, gather chickens from poultry houses, pull sweet potatoes out of the ground and make the cardboard boxes that hold produce.

Those workers are leaving the state because they are intimidated by the law and without them, acres and acres of crops will be wasted, the farmers said.


Check out what folks are saying about immigration on Twitter.