News & Insights


Stay informed with the latest MRL, Food Additive and Company news from around the world.

David McCaleb Speaks at Craft Brewers Conference
May 10, 2018

On April 30-May 3, Eric Rosenberg and David McCaleb attended the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. 

During the show, David participated on a panel discussion for the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program (EDP).  Along with representatives from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, David spoke about international compliance issues and challenges when exporting beer. 

Nearly 150 brewers and importers attended the panel discussion, and their engagement demonstrated the growing interest in export opportunities among the U.S. craft brewing community. 

Tye Blazey speaks at the North American Meat Institute Summit
May 7, 2018


On April 18th, BCI's Director of Sales and Marketing presented at the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Annual Meeting.   This annual event brings together executives across the industry for educational programs on labor and employment issues, regulatory issues, and public affairs. 

The presentation was a part of the International Affairs Committee meeting and focused on the impact of veterinary drug residue levels on global trade.  Tye’s talk was followed by presentations from Gregg Doud, Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Ted McKinney, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. 

Photo shoot and recipe development for California olives
May 4, 2018


On May 3, BCI Marketing Business Unit members Sarah Gelpi Hooker and Catherine Nguyen attended the California Olive Committee (COC)’s international recipe photo shoot.  At the photo shoot, Sarah and Catherine witnessed the professional photography process that goes into creating every COC recipe photo. 

In addition, they learned more about the recipe development process from COC’s chef partner, who incorporated California ripe olives into Japanese and Chinese dishes.  Each COC recipe was created to enhance traditional flavors while highlighting the utility and versatility of California ripe olives. 

BCI works with the California Olive Committee on a range of international market development efforts to expand California ripe olive exports.

Matt Lantz Meets with Korean Government on MRL Issues
May 1, 2018


On April 16th, BCI's Vice President for Global Access met with officials from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to discuss the upcoming Korean transition to a positive pesticide maximum residue level (MRL) list on January 1, 2019.  Korea is the latest in a string of countries to establish a national list.

BCI is working on behalf of its clients to encourage the setting of MRLs at levels harmonized to US or international Codex standards to avoid potential trade disruptions.  While meeting with MFDS, Matt Lantz suggested several options to consider to ensure that trade is not affected by the upcoming change. The meeting was productive.  While in Korea, Matt also met with registrants to learn the latest on submissions to MFDS to set MRLs by the end of the year. 


Photo: Matt Lantz at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea.


BCI staff volunteer with IRC Women’s Empowerment Workshop
May 1, 2018


On Saturday April 28, BCI-Sacramento staff Pam Araoz and Sarah Gelpi Hooker volunteered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) at a Women’s Empowerment workshop.  The IRC assists people across the globe who have been affected by various humanitarian crises, including conflict and natural disasters. 

At the workshop, Pam and Sarah assisted in providing financial literacy training to women recently resettled under Special Immigrant Visa status from Afghanistan and Iran.  This included reviewing U.S. currency (how to use coins and bills in their daily life) as well as how to assess their families’ needs vs. wants, and how to make a monthly budget.  These are important tools as they strive for self-sufficiency and to establish themselves here in the U.S.  More generally, these workshops serve the purpose of empowering women to engage themselves in their families’ affairs and to set goals for their lives (careers, learning English, etc.).

BCI Works to Increase Specialty Crop Imports in Tokyo
April 27, 2018


From April 15-21, 2018, James Christie, BCI President, and Sarah Gelpi Hooker, BCI Marketing Account Manager, traveled to Tokyo, Japan on behalf of the California Cherry Board (CCB) and California Blueberry Commission (CBC). 

The purpose of this visit was to meet with major importers of California cherries and blueberries, as well as key retailers, to discuss CCB and CBC’s joint California Grown promotions in Japan funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  BCI is managing this initiative for the California cherry and blueberry industries with the goal of increasing exports to this important market.

 Pictured: James Christie, Sarah Gelpi, and Todd Sanders (Director of Trade and Technical Affairs, California Blueberry Commission)

BCI Staff Attend US-UK Trade Panel Discussion
April 16, 2018


On April 11, Alissa Chevallier and Dexter Leland of BCI's international marketing team attended a moderated Q&A discussion with UK Secretary of State, Liam Fox.  The event was hosted by the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) at the Columbia Tower in Seattle, Washington.  The discussion covered topics ranging from US-UK trade and investment, to free-trade agreement negotiations, to the future of Brexit, and other trade issues.

Attending events like these keeps BCI aware of the trade challenges and opportunities that are present in key foreign markets, and ultimately helps BCI increase the export success of its clients.

BCI Coauthors MRL Article in the British Food Journal
April 11, 2018

BCI's Vice President for Global Access, Matt Lantz, and former staffer, Alyse McConnell, joined three Canadian authors to publish a recent article in the British Food Journal entitled: "Declining Harmonization in Maximum Residue Levels for Pesticides."  The article appears in Vol. 120 Issue: 4, pp. 901-903. The article explores how pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs) are being established at differing levels in countries around the world and the implications of that for food security and international trade.

The abstract for the article states:


Maximum residual limits (MRLs) for pesticides are based on science. This is true both for MRLs devised by national governments and multilaterally through the Codex. Science-based Codex MRLs are internationally harmonized to facilitate trade. Since the 1990s, an increasing number of countries have devised national MRLs and eschewed those of the Codex. These differing national standards are becoming important barriers to trade. The purpose of this paper is to explore the ramifications of these diverging MRLs for food security, investigate the reasons for the rise of national standards, and explore the role of science in regulatory processes.


The approach is an examination of the scientific basis for MRLs in the context of food safety  outcomes.


It finds that there is no improvement in food safety from the move to national MRLs, only a loss of the benefits of trade. As all countries, along with the Codex, claim that their MRLs are based on science, suggesting that there is a need for an examination of the role of science in the making of public policy.


This study identifies a potential risk to food security for food policy makers. Given future food security challenges and that pesticides are used almost universally in conventional agriculture, trade barriers based on divergent interpretations of science need to be addressed by food policy makers.

To purchase the article, please visit

BCI Visits Vietnam and Thailand on Market Development Effort
April 11, 2018


BCI President James Christie visited Vietnam and Thailand in March to investigate market opportunities for U.S. agricultural exporters.  He was accompanied by a group of fresh fruit exporters from California.  The group met with importers and retailers along with U.S. government officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Bangkok. 

During meetings with the U.S. officials, James took the opportunity to discuss market access efforts in both countries for a number of BCI clients, and he explored opportunities for harmonization of maximum residue level (MRL) standards in the region.  Market opportunities abound in the region, particularly in Vietnam which has lower import tariffs than Thailand on most U.S. agricultural products.

Pictured from left to right:  James Christie - BCI;  Gerald Smith - USDA/FAS/Ho Chi Minh City;  Thanh Vo - USDA/FAS/Ho Chi Minh City; and Frances Lee who serves as a marketing representative for a number of U.S. agricultural products in the region.

BCI staff visit a California olive canning facility
April 2, 2018

Last week Sarah Gelpi Hooker and Catherine Nguyen, members of BCI’s marketing team, were invited to visit a California olive processing facility to observe their day-to-day operations.

Along with California Olive Committee (COC) representatives and other COC consultants, BCI staff watched as olives were sorted, processed, and then packaged into a final product. Through this visit, BCI staff gained valuable insight into the California ripe olive industry and their processing techniques. On behalf of the industry, BCI works with COC on its international marketing program to expand exports of California olives around the globe.  

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