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


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May 1, 2018
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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.).

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April 27, 2018
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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)

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April 16, 2018
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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.

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April 11, 2018
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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:

Purpose

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.

Design/methodolodogy/approach

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

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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 Emeraldinsight.com

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April 11, 2018
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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.

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April 2, 2018
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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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March 19, 2018
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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.

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March 13, 2018
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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

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March 2, 2018
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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.

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February 28, 2018
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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. 

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