Following the successful lawsuit against Monsanto in California in August in which a jury ruled that a former groundskeeper’s cancer was caused by Roundup, and that the company knowingly withheld information about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, industry analysts are warning that Bayer is now bracing itself for thousands of future claims.
German-based acquired Monsanto earlier this year for $63 billion and according to Reuters, the company faces years of legal activity with some 8,000 lawsuits currently being brought against Monsanto, much higher than the 5,200 cases previously disclosed by Bayer in June.
“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Bayer’s chief executive Werner Baumann admitted to analysts in a conference call.
The lawsuits are also pulling in food manufacturers, with General Mills having to remove a claim about the use of ‘100% natural whole grain oats’ in its Nature Valley brand cereal bars.
Photo Caption: Bayer could face years of legal action in the United States after its acquisition of Roundup manufacturer Monsanto
Photo Credit: Flickr
The post Bayer preparing for thousands of Roundup lawsuits appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.
Despite consistent reassurances by Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe that there will be no store closures or job losses as a result of the proposed merger between his company and rival supermarket chain Asda, new analysis by The Times suggests that competition watchdogs could demand that as many as 300 stores are sold off if the deal is given the go ahead.
The analysis is said to have used the same modelling techniques which are likely to be employed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) when considering such a deal, and also revealed that at around half of the 300 locations identified, Tesco or Morrisons may not wish to buy one of the former Asda or Sainsbury’s stores.
The news will come as a blow to Sainsbury’s which had already been accused of offering “Mickey Mouse figures” about the merger by MP Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
Last week the CMA confirmed that its formal investigation into the merger has begun. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said, “We will carry out a thorough investigation to find out if this merger could lead to higher prices or a worse quality of service for shoppers and will not allow it to go ahead unless any concerns we find are fully dealt with.” In May an initial estimate by the BBC suggested that 73 stores may have to be sold to get the deal approved.
Photo Credit: Flickr
The post Sainsbury’s and Asda could have to sell up to 300 stores appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.
Healthy snacking is becoming increasingly popular around the world and Rijk Zwaan believes that it can offer a number of innovative options to the snack vegetable market.
Among the lines that the company will be highlighting at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica event in September are snack tomatoes in a variety of colours, Silky Pink tomatoes and its One-bite cucumber.
As well as red, orange and yellow tomatoes in different sizes, it is also offering pear-shaped snack tomatoes, light-green or bicolour mini cucumbers and mini bell peppers in a variety of colours. According to the company, at just 5 centimetres long, its One-bite mini cucumber is ‘truly unique.’
The Silky Pink cocktail tomato is the latest in the company’s range, with a cherry and beefsteak version promised in the future. In a press release, Rijk Zwaan added, “The snack vegetable offering also includes robust yet appealing packaging concepts that are ideal for online retail in Asia.
“Guided by [our]motto of ‘Sharing a healthy future’, Rijk Zwaan is committed to working together to further develop the market for fresh vegetables.”
Photo Caption: Rijk Zwaan believes that the snack vegetable market is set to grow
Photo Credit: Rijk Zwaan
The post Rijk Zwaan highlights potential of snack vegetables appeared first on Hort News on 20 August 2018.
As the UK enters a cooler period over the coming weekend, there are warnings that the situation for farmers is now becoming serious.
Rob Clayton of AHDB told the BBC’sWake up To Moneyprogramme: “This year growers have had the Beast from the East, then they’ve had it so hot and so dry this summer.” This means that reduced yields, coupled with a 3 per cent reduction in the planted area will reduce crop availability. “Our options are limited. It means prices are going to be a little bit higher right the way through until next spring,” he added.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen, shortages of vegetables have increased food price inflation to 1.6 per cent in July, compared to 1.2 per cent in May and June. The average price of a head of broccoli is around 25 per cent higher than this time last year, while carrots are 8.3 per cent more expensive in supermarkets. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC says that, “The hot, dry conditions we have seen … mean the pressure on prices will continue for some time to come.”
At the same time, Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association has called on retailers to work with growers during the continued dry weather. “There will certainly be less production and higher costs for growers and this will continue to affect winter crops as well as those planted in the spring,” he stressed. “At the moment it is too difficult to make predictions about where we will be in four month’s time. It is impossible to predict what will happen next year and Brexit adds more uncertainty for producers.”
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union, told the broadcaster, “The situation on the ground is hugely challenging across all sectors. There could be serious concerns for many farmers if this extended spell of warmer, drier weather continues. This unprecedented spell of weather really should be a wake-up call for us all. It’s a timely reminder that we shouldn’t take food production for granted.”
The post Effects of heat wave on farming getting serious appeared first on Hort News on 9 August 2018.
Scottish soft fruit growers in Perthshire and Angus are seeing perfectly good produce left behind on bushes due to a shortage of pickers, just as demand peaks during one of the UK’s hottest summers in forty years.
As well as the unprecedented demand, the weather has lead to high yields of fruit which is ripening extremely quickly. These factors, when added to the ongoing labour crisis has created perfect storm which has seen fruit go to waste.
General Manager of Angus Soft Fruits, William Houston, told The Courierthat most producers were “just about” coping, but said that most fields weren’t getting a final pick over to clear up any last fruit.
“The other big issue is that the standard of workers from Eastern Europe isn’t as good as it used to be,” he added. “If we had the same standard as even two years ago they’d all be relishing the busyness, working their guts out picking huge volumes of fruit and everyone would be happy. But there is a huge difference between the best workers who can pick 20kgs an hour and the worst at only 8kg an hour.”
Peter Marshall Fruit at Alyth said it had left 15 tonnes of strawberries and five tonnes of raspberries to rot last week because of a combination of too few pickers and an unusually long period of sunshine which meant the fruit ripened quickly. “The fruit is ripening so fast, by the time the pickers get to the end of a drill they need to start all over again,” commented the firm’s Meg Marshall.
Photo Credit: Claudette Gallant / Public Domain Pictures
The post Scottish soft fruit growers say produce being wasted due to lack of pickers appeared first on Hort News on 18 July 2018.
Global ag. chem. company Syngenta has announced the global launch of a new SDHI-based fungicide seed treatment, with a view to getting the first approvals in international markets next year.
SALTRO™, which contains the novel active ingredient ADEPIDYN™, will initially be marked for the control of blackleg in canola (oilseed rape); Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soybeans and Bakanae in rice, but following initial planned registrations in the United States, Canada and Australia, use of the chemical could be expanded to other crops and diseases.
Ioana Tudor, Global Head of Syngenta Seedcare, said, “We are excited to be adding SALTRO™ to our broad seed treatment portfolio. It will offer growers even more choices to control early seedling diseases to an unmatched level, by ensuring stand uniformity with strong and healthy plant growth right from the start.”
Photo Credit: Syngenta
The post Syngenta launches Saltro fungicide seed treatment globally appeared first on Hort News on 7 June 2018.
Radish has been one of the fastest growing categories in UK salads in recent years and now one of the UK’s largest producers: G’s Growers has opened a new washing and grading line at Feltwell Growers in Norfolk.
The new 980sq meter building, which houses five new lines to wash and grade the pack, was constructed in less than six months, despite one of the harshest winters that Norfolk has seen in recent years.
“Production of UK radish traditionally starts on St Georges Day, so given the cooler than average weather conditions through February and March we are pleased to have UK crop being trialled through the new line,” explained Scott Watson, general manager of G’s Feltwell Growers.
The new packing facility is the latest in a series of investments by G’s in its radish business over the past 10 years and the company says it has a range of exciting radish based NPD due to launch through the course of the summer that should encourage shoppers to take a lot more interest in the category. It will also continue to support its ongoing Love Radish PR campaign (www.loveradish.co.uk).
Photo Caption: Some of the new radish grading lines
Photo Credit: G’s Growers
The post Norfolk Radishes Get Underway in New Facility appeared first on Hort News on 26 April 2018.
Syngenta’s US business has announced that it has acquired independent Pennsylvania-based vegetable breed and seed producer Abbott & Cobb.
Established in 1917, Abbott & Cobb is particularly strong in sweet corn and cucurbits, as well as peppers and beans for processing. According to Syngenta, combining the expertise, portfolios and pipelines of both companies will enable it to increase its ability to innovate and enhance its offer to growers. In particular it will strengthen Syngenta’s vegetable seeds business in sweet corn, which is seen as one of the company’s core crops globally.
Javier Martinez-Cabrera, Syngenta Head of Vegetables Seeds North America, commented, “Abbott & Cobb is a strategic acquisition for Syngenta Vegetable Seeds and it will give us access to high eating quality germplasm, and early maturity varieties to complement the Syngenta portfolio. We welcome the Abbott & Cobb team into the business and look forward to achieving great things as one team.”
Photo Caption: Abbott & Cobb are leading breeders of sweat corn
Photo Credit: Abbott & Cobb / Twitter
The post Syngenta acquires sweet corn breeder Abbott & Cobb appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.
Norfolk-based E F Harrold Ltd of Oulton, near Aylsham, has applied for planning permission to build a new 2,200 tonne potato box store according to the Eastern Daily Press.
The development at street farm would include an open loading canopy, an office and machinery store.
A design and access statement presented to Broadland District Council as part of the application says: ‘The business has limited potato storage of its own… Moving all of potatoes directly off the farm at harvest time is a logistical problem, a very inefficient use of labour, due to the sporadic nature of harvest; and with its intensive nature, an intensive use of the local road network.’
Photo Caption: Harvesting potatoes at E F Harrold
Photo Credit: Ben Burgess / Twitter
The post Aylsham potato grower to build new store appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.
Multinational agribusiness Monsanto has invested $125 million in agricultural start-up Pairwise to leverage gene editing technology into fresh produce crops such as strawberries.
According to Business Insider, the two companies will use CRISPR gene editing techniques to develop fruit crops – most likely to be strawberries – within the next five to 10 years, with the benefits expected to be sweeter fruit with a longer shelf life. The website also reported that former Monsanto’s vice president of global biotechnology Tom Adams will become the new CEO of Pairwise.
“Gene editing allows you to address problems that you can’t address with genetic modification and do so faster,” Adams said, adding, “what’s exciting is that it can get into crops that have a smaller footprint than maybe corn and have more opportunities to get into the hands of consumers.”
Haven Baker, the founder and CEO of Pairwise plants, told Business Insider, “We are absolutely targeting things that you’ll be able to see in the produce aisle. And ideally it’ll be benefits you recognize as an average consumer shopping and looking for produce. We want to make specialty crops cheaper more accessible and more affordable.”
Photo Credit: Pixabay
The post Monsanto brings gene-editing to strawberries appeared first on Hort News on 5 April 2018.