Good morning. I’ve made a quick scan of the Web and brought you the latest f/v offerings on this morning of Oct. 12.

Linkedin Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group
10 new members in the last week: 279 members total
Hot topic – 5 comments to the question. What is the cost of traceability? What is the return on investment?

Google Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group
Hot topic: Scare tactics to push food safety legislation

USDA Fruit and vegetable Retail Report

From the Oct. 9 report:

Retailers this week focused on health with particular emphasis on Breast Cancer Awareness month and flu shots. Autumn floral bouquets, hard squash, pumpkins (many sold by the pound), apples and pears were also widely featured. Asparagus, grapes and bartlett pears remained in the top five overall joined by red delicious apples and red bell peppers. Vegetable ads accounted for 54% of all ads for the week. Tomatoes on-the-vine, green bell pepper and sweet onions accounted for the remainder of the vegetable top five. Hass avocados and strawberries completed the top five fruit items.The top five fruit items accounted for over 70% of all fruit ads this week while the top five vegetable ads accounted for less than 40%. Of the major ad items (defined here as featured in 3,000+ stores this week), all 6 fruit items were lower than a year ago. Weighted average prices for pineapples were down the most at 19%. Bell peppers were again the only vegetable item higher in price than a year ago, with red bell peppers up 2%. On-the-vine tomatoes were 19% lower in price than a year

Twitter search results for "fruits and vegetables" this morning:

•    Laser Labeling on Fruits and Vegetables: How Does it Work?
•    Just went grocery shopping. Now I have a refrigerator filled with seafood, chicken fruits and vegetables to devour.
•    There are often more lignans in selected seaweeds than in legumes, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Kozan has 8 kinds of sea vegetables
•    Remember, good nutrition follows the "colors of life"...Make sure you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in color spectrum
•    @erennnnn meat, fruits, vegetables. i eat french fries, fish sticks, peanut butter sandwiches and junk food. always.

TK: Some notes about fruits and vegetables and the farm to school program in Oklahoma

Taking the whining out of Oklahoma’s school dining
From the story:

Kerri Whitley, registered dietitian for Sodexo, the food service company for the Putnam City School District, said students have more choices in cafeterias, like deli sandwiches made to order for no additional charge. Students also can have fresh fruits and vegetables. Many are provided by the Farm-to-School program, which brings local produce into schools.
Whitley said students asked for more fruits and vegetables in surveys.
"It’s kind of surprising that they’re asking for it. If it’s real quality, then they’re going to eat it,” she said.

TK; California may be closer to a water deal and that’s a good thing…

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders plan a seventh straight day of water negotiations Monday, as the governor summoned lawmakers for a special session on the state’s water problems.Talks on how to address the state’s deteriorating and inadequate water system ended late Sunday after nearly 12 hours, though leaders said they moved closer to a deal. The governor is pushing for more reservoirs and a controversial canal to improve a water storage and conveyance system mostly built in the 1960s.

TK: Interesting story from
Jill Smith on Bill Marler’s Web site about  the development of nutrition guidelines, including a cost comparison of the budget for “healthy foods” and processed junk.

From the story:

 Back in 1999, the USDA reported that the federal government's healthy eating campaign was outspent by the commercial food marketing, $350 million to $11 billion. Image-conscious Americans craft their persona in the cell phones they buy, the cars they drive, and the foods they eat, thanks to this powerful marketing.

The USDA and many other public and private organizations have been studying nutrition and dietary needs for at least the last century. Little of the basic recommendations have changed, and the recommendations still orbit around the principles of variation, proportionality and moderation.

Yet, the nation suffers from poor eating choices still.  Nutrition deficiencies have morphed into chronic disease maladies. Our health situation's image has transformed from a nutritionally deficient hollow face peering out from a rural homestead to a calorie-overloaded bulging belly dominating an office cubicle or pantsuit.

More information, more complexities, and more academic studies have their role in improving health, by improving food safety, targeting specific diseases attributable to lifestyle or demographics, and to identifying key ingredients to optimal nutrition. Yet, they offer few clues to incite the behavioral changes called for in the Dietary Guidelines.

Perhaps what this means is that the answer does not lie in defining the specific minerals, nutrients and vitamins in each piece of food we eat, but rather stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. What about variation, proportionality and moderation? Where are these values represented by the commercial food industry?

Start your transformation by talking about variation, proportionality and moderation with your friends and family. Ask your local and national restaurants for more vegetable-based options. Use your social activities to foster positive nutritional experiences, and make them flavorful and enjoyable - but rich in fruits and vegetables.

Other headlines:
RFID study to look at leafy greens and E. coli

Retailers and restaurants bracing for H1N1

FDA award millions in food safety grants