News & Insights


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

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.  

BCI Welcomes Catherine Nguyen
March 19, 2018

Catherine Nguyen joined BCI in January 2018 as an international marketing assistant.  Catherine supports the firm’s account managers with grant writing and reporting duties pertaining to USDA export assistance programs, project planning and implementation, as well as financial management tasks. 

Prior to BCI, Catherine worked as a research specialist for Real Capital Analytics, sifting through commercial real estate data to compose comprehensive case histories, as well as identifying crucial financing information for an internal database. Catherine has also worked as a remote fundraising coordinator for ETIV do Brasil, and has experience in applying for philanthropic grants geared towards environmental conservation initiatives.

In 2015, Catherine graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in International Relations in addition to minors in German, International Agricultural Development, and Sustainability. She is fluent in Vietnamese, proficient in German, and is currently studying Brazilian Portuguese.

Matt Lantz Attends EU Minor Uses Coordination Meeting in Brussels
March 13, 2018


On March 13, Matt Lantz, Vice President for BCI Global Access participated in the European Minor Use Coordination Meeting in Brussels on behalf of the US hop industry. The goal of this group is to obtain additional crop protection options for European farmers. Matt is one of two American members of this organization.  

The US and European hop industries are coordinated in their crop protection needs, so the meeting provides a strong forum for sharing information and cooperating on international trade issues associated with pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Photo:  EU Commodity Expert Working Group on Hops

Michael Shumyater Attends Fraud Prevention Workshop
March 2, 2018


On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, BCI Finance Manager Michael Shumyater attended an all-day Fraud Prevention Workshop organized by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA). The main presenters were attorneys Katherine Heekin and Joe Hobson, who have worked with WUSATA and USDA export assistance grant programs for many years. Alongside presenters from WUSATA, they discussed different types of fraud, how to prevent it, and tips from the “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse” which is prepared every other year by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  

As BCI’s lead on financial management and compliance, Michael’s participation in workshops like this ensure that our firm remains on the cutting edge of financial and compliance issues and is able to best serve its clients that receive funding from the Market Access Program and other USDA grants.

Matt Lantz at the WTO in Geneva
February 28, 2018


On February 24 and 25, Matt Lantz, BCI's Vice President for Global Access, traveled to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva to participate in a workshop on missing Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) in international agriculture trade.  Government and industry officials from 17 countries came together to assess options for establishing and harmonizing MRLs among trading partner to facilitate agriculture exports. 

Photo:   Matt Lantz with officials from Peru, Kenya, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Canada. 

BCI staff conduct market assessments in Southeast Asia
February 15, 2018


From January 4-20, BCI’s Director of Research Julie Cerenzia and Research Project Manager Hans Stroo traveled to six Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – to conduct market assessments for the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council (USADPLC).  The team conducted multiple supermarket visits and almost 50 interviews that will help validate activities proposed for support by the USDA Emerging Markets Program. 


Photo:  Julie Cerenzia and Hans Stroo meet with Chef Vindex Tengker, Vice President of Garuda International Airlines, and Ms. Pornnicha Sathujarun of Agrisource Co. Ltd., regional representative of USDBC and USADPLC.

BCI volunteers with Dress for Success
February 13, 2018

Earlier this month, several BCI staff members teamed up for a volunteer opportunity at Dress for Success Seattle

Staff spent an afternoon organizing clothing racks and pulling together ensembles which were photographed for promotional purposes, as well as sorting shoes for the "closet" that stylists pull from when outfitting their clients for professional interviews. Staff also took product shots which are now being posted to the Dress for Success Facebook page to promote their March sale – one of the funding streams which supports their program in Seattle.

Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that provides women in need with professional workplace attire. They have locations all over the globe, including an operation out of the YWCA in downtown Seattle.


Shown at top from left to right: Karlee Kirking, Alinne Oliveira, Dexter Leland, Heather Daveno, Ann Stevenson and Maclyn Curley.

Photos at left are courtesy of Ann Stevenson.


All News Tags