Publications

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  • Food Safety Practices and Costs Under the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement

    EIB-173, June 07, 2017

    Interviews with firms participating in an existing food safety program, California's Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, offer insights into what the recent FSMA Produce Rule will mean for the U.S. produce industry.

  • The California Leafy Greens Industry Provides an Example of an Established Food Safety System

    Amber Waves, June 07, 2017

    The California Leafy Greens Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) was established in 2007 to provide a minimum food safety standard for that industry. A recent ERS case study examined the 2012 food safety practices and costs of seven large LGMA participants.

  • Opportunities for Making U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade More Agile

    EIB-160, August 22, 2016

    To explore ways of facilitating border crossing and inspection for U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade, an ERS research team conducted about 80 interviews with experts from the private sector, government, and academia from both countries.

  • Protected-Culture Technology Transforms the Fresh-Tomato Market

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    In calendar year 2011, protected culture tomatoes made up 40 percent of U.S. tomato shipments, up from less than 10 percent in 2004; they now dominate the retail industry and are becoming more common in foodservice. The transition to protected culture tomatoes is likely to accelerate if growers can meet foodservice demand, particularly from fast food buyers.

  • Peru: An Emerging Exporter of Fruits and Vegetables

    FTS-34501, December 16, 2010

    This report provides an overview of performance, advantages, and challenges of the Peruvian fruits and vegetables export industry. Three commodity case studies-asparagus, processed artichokes, and table grapes-highlight different degrees of competition with U.S. industries and impacts on U.S. growers.

  • Labor-Intensive U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industry Competes in a Global Market

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    Reduction in the supply of workers that could make agricultural labor more expensive for the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry may impact industry competitiveness, but the effects would vary by commodity.

  • The U.S. Produce Industry and Labor: Facing the Future in a Global Economy

    ERR-106, November 12, 2010

    Fruit and vegetable production is a labor-intensive process, and over half of the hired workers employed by growers are believed to be unauthorized immigrants. Reforms to immigration laws, if they reduce the labor supply, may increase the cost of farm labor. The authors of this report assess how particular fruit and vegetable commodities might adjust if labor rates increased.

  • Consumers’ Response to the 2006 Foodborne Illness Outbreak Linked to Spinach

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Consumers responded to the FDA's September 2006 warnings to avoid eating spinach because of possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. While spinach expenditures fell, consumers turned to other leafy greens as substitutes. The longer term drop in retail expenditures on fresh spinach products was almost matched by gains in expenditures on other leafy greens.

  • Outbreak Linked to Spinach Forces Reassessment of Food Safety Practices

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    This article reviews the 2006 foodborne illness outbreak associated with spinach. It discusses the voluntary Food and Drug Administration guidelines (Good Agricultural Practices) for minimizing microbial contamination of fresh produce and the benefits and costs to farmers of adopting these guidelines. The article concludes with industry strategies to reduce future outbreaks.

  • Food Safety Improvements Underway in China

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Adverse publicity about contaminated food incidents has prompted improved food safety programs in China for both the domestic and export market. This article reviews the challenges for Chinese food safety and government programs to improve standards. Only a small portion of Chinese production for the domestic market currently meets the new government standards for safer food. Producing safer food for export is expensive and reduces China's cost advantage in world markets.

  • U.S. Could Expand Apple Exports to Japan

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently ruled that Japan's phytosanitary protocol for imports of U.S. apples was not justified and was in breach of Japan's WTO obligations. Japan has implemented new rules as a result that will make it easier for U.S. apple exporters to create a market in Japan. Japanese apple consumption is currently quite low, but this could change in the future.

  • Resolution of the U.S.- Japan Apple Dispute: New Opportunities for Trade

    FTS-31801, October 26, 2005

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in June 2005 that Japan's phytosanitary protocol related to fire blight for imports of U.S. apples was not justified and was in breach of Japan's WTO commitments. In August 2005, Japan issued a new phytosanitary protocol that complies with the WTO ruling. With the elimination of the restrictive fire-blight protocol, U.S. producers have a new opportunity to export apples to a high-quality export market, at a significantly lower cost than before. This analysis estimates that over the long run, Japanese apple imports will increase by an average of $144 million per year but that substantial variation from the average import estimate would be likely because of fluctuating market conditions from season to season.

  • Greenhouse Tomatoes Change the Dynamics of the North American Fresh Tomato Industry

    ERR-2, April 01, 2005

    The North American greenhouse tomato industry has grown rapidly since the early 1990s and now plays a major role in the fresh tomato industry. ERS looked at consumption and price trends, competition from Mexico and Canada, and the rising industry's effect on the entire fresh field tomato sector.

  • North American Greenhouse Tomatoes Emerge as a Major Market Force

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2005

    This article documents the evolution of the North American greenhouse tomato industry in all three countries—the United states, Canada, and Mexico.

  • The Economics of Food Safety: The Case of Green Onions and Hepatitis A Outbreaks

    VGS-30501, December 01, 2004

    Using the example of recent hepatitis A outbreaks in the United States associated with green onions from Mexico, this report examines the economics of food safety. It reviews the incentives to adopt additional food safety practices and the economic impact of an outbreak on green onion growers in Mexico.

  • Global Trade Patterns in Fruits and Vegetables

    WRS-0406, June 01, 2004

    International trade in fruits and vegetables has expanded at a higher rate than trade in other agricultural commodities, particularly since the 1980s. Not only has world trade in fruits and vegetables gained prominence, but the variety of commodities has expanded. Over the years, three regions-the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) area, and Asia (East, Southeast, and South)-have remained as both the major destinations and sources of supply. A substantial share of their trade is intraregional, particularly that of the EU. All the three regions, however, depend on Southern Hemisphere countries for imports of juices and off-season fresh fruits, and on equatorial regions for bananas, the leading fresh fruit import. In addition to global north-south trading, due mostly to the counter-cyclical seasons of the two hemispheres, Asian trade has also become much more important since the 1980s as incomes and populations have grown and policies changed.

  • Traceability in the U.S. Food Supply: Economic Theory and Industry Studies

    AER-830, March 18, 2004

    This investigation into the traceability baseline in the United States finds that private sector food firms have developed a substantial capacity to trace.

  • Response to U.S. Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Associated with Imported Produce

    AIB-789-5, February 28, 2004

    This report examines how U.S. and other nations responded to foodborne illness outbreaks traced to internationally-traded food.

  • U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Marketing: Emerging Trade Practices, Trends, and Issues

    AER-795, January 25, 2001

    In the past year, trade practices between fresh produce shippers and food retailers gained national attention. Shippers are concerned that recent retail consolidation has led to market power and the growing incidence of fees and services. Retailers argue that these new trade practices reflect their costs of doing business and the demands of consumers. Trade practices include fees such as volume discounts and slotting fees, as well as services like automatic inventory replenishment, special packaging, and requirements for third-party food safety certification. Trade practices also refer to the overall structure of a transaction-for example, long-term relationships or contracts versus daily sales with no continuing commitment. This study compares trade practices in 1999 with those prevalent in 1994, placing them in the broader context of the evolving shipper/retailer relationship. Most shippers and retailers reported that the incidence and magnitude of fees and services associated with transactions has increased over the last 5 years. Fees paid to retailers are usually around 1-2 percent of sales for most of the commodities we examined, but 1-8 percent for bagged salads.