News & Insights


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

BCI Staff Tour California Fruit Packing Operation
August 6, 2018


During the first week of August, members of BCI’s trade policy and marketing teams visited a California cherry, apple, and walnut packing shed.  James Christie (BCI President), Will Callis (Marketing Account Manager), Sarah Gelpi (Marketing Account Manager), and Adam Hollowell (Trade Policy Specialist), witnessed the packer’s California apple and walnut lines in action, and discussed the testing and protocols in place to ensure high-quality and smooth shipments into international markets.  The group also discussed the recently concluded California cherry season, and marketing and trade policy priorities of the industry. 

BCI works closely with the California Cherry Board on its international program, including on export market development and trade policy and phytosanitary issues.

Michael Bowen Joins BCI's Technology Team
July 20, 2018


Michael Bowen joined Bryant Christie Inc. in 2018 as a Front-End Web Application Developer.  He is responsible for maintaining and enhancing BCI’s online systems and helping to create new initiatives and client applications.  This includes customized applications and the BCGlobal product line.

Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked for Microsoft as a Web Developer III.  In that role he developed web applications that helped manage data for Xbox.  Before that he was a Software Development Engineer at iSoftStone North America, where he developed POS and employee management systems for resorts across the western US.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  He also holds a certificate in full stack JavaScript development from Code Fellows.

Ola Wietecha Joins BCI's Marketing Team
July 20, 2018


Ola Wietecha joined Bryant Christie in April of 2018 as a member of the firm’s international marketing group. Ola participates in writing and administering of grants related to the United States Department of Agriculture export assistance programs. She also works with clients to implement their organization’s promotional activities. Her responsibilities also include strategic planning, project management, and financial management.

Prior to joining Bryant Christie, Ola spent two years as a reporter covering the seafood industry, focusing on market trends, international marketing activities and technological developments in aquaculture, among other topics.

Ola graduated from Seattle’s University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in French. She gained proficiency in the French language during her time studying in Montpellier and during her year teaching in Grenoble. She is also fluent in Polish.

Matt Lantz Presents at World Trade Organization
July 17, 2018

On July 11, Matt Lantz, BCI's Vice President for Market Access, spoke at the World Trade Organization in Geneva  on the potential impact European pesticide regulatory policies may have on agriculture exports to the Community.  Drawing from a report Bryant Christie Inc. produced in October 2017, Lantz explained that up to 64% of agriculture exports to the EU could be affected.  While all regions of the world are likely to feel an impact from the EU policies, Central and South America and Sub Saharan Africa are the most likely to face challenges

The meeting, sponsored by the US and Canadian governments, brought together officials from numerous countries to discuss EU pesticide maximum residue level (MRLs) policies in international trade. 

Ann Stevenson Participates in Exchange Program on MRLs in China
June 28, 2018

On June 8-17, Ann Stevenson traveled to Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai, China as part of a Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program (SCEP) on pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs). SCEP is a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) program that facilitates the exchange of scientific and technical expertise between the US and China.

This is the first SCEP focused specifically on pesticide residues. It was led by Mayra Caldera from FAS and included Dr. Wayne Jiang from the Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) Project and Dr. Loren LaPointe from FAS. While in China, the team visited the Ministry of Agriculture Institute Control of Agrochemicals (ICAMA), the US Embassy, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, and several local farms and agricultural facilities.

An open dialogue on MRLs between the two countries is especially important right now because China is in the process of expanding their national MRL legislation. Updates to this standard affect US industry exporting to and sourcing food from China.


Photo: SCEP team touring residue field trials on rice crops at Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences facility in Nanjing. From left to right: Loren LaPointe, Wayne Jiang, Mayra Caldera, Ann Stevenson, and Wenbo Duan.

BCX Group Visits Trident Seafood
June 18, 2018


On June 13, members of BCI’s data services (Jeffery Mitchell, Karlee Kirking, Liz Cady, Maclyn Curley), marketing (Alissa Chevallier, David McCaleb), and research (Jack Callahan) business units toured Trident Seafoods’ Pier 91 plant and innovation center.  In addition, the group met with representatives from Trident’s global sales, regulatory, and research and development teams to learn more about the company’s story, the successes it has had in international markets, and the challenges it faces with exporting a wide range of seafood products around the world. 

Across the board, the visit was eye-opening for BCI participants as it provided real-world context for the day-to-day work that goes into the firm’s BCGlobal portal ( and other regulatory intelligence, research, and marketing products.  This visit was arranged as part of the firm’s BCXplore (BCX) program, which supports leadership development and team building at BCI. 

Thanks to Trident Seafoods for hosting our group!

BCI Participates in San Francisco MRL Workshop
June 18, 2018


Five staff members from Bryant Christie Inc. attended the San Francisco Pesticide Maximum Residue Workshop on May 30 and 31.  The annual meeting brings together government regulators, registrants, agricultural groups, and companies to discuss one of the most challenging issues in international agriculture trade: harmonizing international pesticide residue standards so exports are not affected.      

BCI staff presented on the following topics:

  • President James Christie noted the importance of managing the challenges of international MRL issues and avoiding trade disruptions for agriculture. 
  • Vice President for Global Access, Matt Lantz, moderated the first morning and gave a presentation on early notification to changes in European MRL standards. 
  • Director for Data Services, Kimberly Berry, presented on effectively using BCI’s Global MRL Database host at

Alinne Oliveira, who just returned from MRL meetings in Brazil, and Ann Stevenson, who is heading to China in two weeks to discuss Chinese MRL policies, also attended the Workshop.

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.

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