Processors Monthy - December 2013


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WAPA's Processor Monthly for December 2013

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Processors Monthy - December 2013

  1. 1. Newsletter of the Western Agricultural Processors Association Processors Monthly December 2013 Industry Calendar December 17 Board of Directors Mtg— Fresno January 10 Walnut Show— Yuba City Volume 5, Issue 12 USDA ARS Tours Nut Hulling and Processing Facilities Working with the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) toured several nut hulling and processing facilities to discuss processing research opportunities. Dr. Derek Whitelock, from the USDA ARS Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico toured Travaille & Phippen’s almond huller/sheller and processing operation in Ripon, Barton WAPA Staff  Casey D. Creamer Vice President Elda Brueggemann Director of Environmental & Safety Services Irma Ramirez Safety Assistant Shana Colby Administrative Assistant WAPA Office 1785 N. Fine Avenue Fresno, CA 93727 P: (559) 455-9272 F: (559) 251-4471 ARB Reopens Ag Truck Registration Succumbing to continued pressure, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is proposing to make some changes to the Truck and Bus Regulation to ease compliance. ARB is proposing the following changes:  The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles Roger A. Isom President / CEO Aimee Brooks Director of Regulatory Affairs USDA ARS is already working on byproduct research for WAPA, such as the biodegradable packaging research using almond hull and shell, and walnut shell. This also compliments the biogas research WAPA is conducting with West Biofuels and UC San Diego on a biogas plant in Woodland, California utilizing almond hull and shell, walnut shell and pistachio shell.  Joe Runnels of Valley Harvest discussing almond slicing with USDA's Derek Whitelock and WAPA's Aimee Brooks  Ranch’s walnut huller in Ripon, Gold River’s walnut processor in Escalon, Valley Harvest Nut Co.’s almond processor in Modesto, Sierra  Valley Hulling’s almond huller in Firebaugh, and Horizon Nut Co.’s pistachio processing plant in Tulare. This particular lab has focused on cotton ginning research for years, but has worked on topics such as almond harvesting equipment working with Flory Industries. WAPA believes that some of the topics discussed during this month’s visit can be translated into actual research in the coming year. to newly register for the existing low mileage agricultural vehicle extension The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles to newly register for the existing low mileage construction truck extension The opt-in period will be reopened for vehicles to newly register for the existing PM phase-in requirements The thresholds for the low-use exemption will be increased for all trucks that are operated a total of less than 5,000 miles per year, and for trucks that are designed to perform work while stationary, the limit will be increased to 200 hours per year The definition of “NOx exempt” areas will be expanded to include additional counties including Butte County! Welcome New Regular Member! Paramount Farms Minturn Nut Company, Inc.
  2. 2. Processors Monthly—Page 2 try organizations, the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) submitted comments on the two draft regulations released under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The two rules WAPA commented on are the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”, and the “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and HazWAPA Hosts Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen on Tour The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) ard Analysis and Risk- Based Preventive Controls for Huhosted Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen this past month on man Food”. WAPA focused on the following in the proposed Produce Rule: a tour of an almond huller, farm and a cotton gin. The  FDA should reconsider which tree nuts are “rarely conAssemblywoman toured the Hulling Company’s almond sumed raw” huller in Chowchilla including visiting the site of their new  FDA’s list of produce items “rarely consumed raw” should huller currently under construction. Assemblywoman reflect the latest research and be able to be updated as Olsen is the Vice Chair for the Assembly Ag Committee To take advantage of these changes in compliance, you must be registered with the online ARB truck registration program by January 31, 2014. If you have any questions or need assisting in registering your trucks, please contact our office!     Ron Leach of the Hulling Company explains the almond hulling process to Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen  and sits on the Select Committee for Ag and the Environment, and the Select Committee on Regional Approaches to the State Water Crisis. While educating the Assemblywoman on the finer points of tree nut hulling and processing, considerable time was spent discussing the critical issues facing the tree nut industry including water availability, water quality, air quality and labor. The tour was a huge success with the Assemblywoman “tweeting” about her stops along the entire tour! The tour was part of WAPA’s ongoing program to bring legislators and regulators to our operations to educate about them on the critical issues affecting our industry.  WAPA Submits Comments on FSMA Rules After several months of in-depth review, food safety committee meetings, FSMA briefings, conference calls, staff meetings, and discussions with members and indus-  consumption patterns change without going through the rulemaking process The Produce Safety Rule should not apply to exported produce FDA should clarify the type of documentation required to demonstrate that produce will be subject to further commercial processing FDA should revise the proposed rule so that activities that are low risk, such as hulling, shelling and washing, are considered part of farming, regardless of whether they are done on the farm where they were harvested or on a farm under another ownership FDA should recognize that for many tree nuts, farm activities start when the nuts are picked/harvested and end at the point at which the nuts leave the huller or huller/ sheller. It is important to note that the huller/sheller does not introduce the product into commerce For produce that is not exempt, an exemption for growers based on size should be as limited as possible FDA should use guidance rather than rulemaking to specify some practices, such as water testing requirements FDA should allow trained workers to switch employers without needing to be retrained WAPA’s focus on the proposed Preventative Controls regulation centered on the following:    Activities performed by hullers/shellers should be considered part of “farming activities” and not subject to section 418 of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act FDA should support and recognize industry-driven, mandatory programs that afford the same level of public health protection as the Preventive Control Rule• WAPA supports FDA’s recognition that the industry is responsible for food safety and urges FDA to recognize limitations in processing options FDA should recognize that the debris and dust from hulling nuts does not indicate an insanitary operation
  3. 3. Processors Monthly—Page 3     FDA should allow industry to build off existing HACCP plans FDA should provide more details around the requirements of a qualified individual FDA should require environmental testing for pathogens when RTE products are exposed to the environment but allow facilities to develop appropriate testing programs FDA should not require finished product testing Comments were due this past month, but we won’t hear for several months what FDA’s response will be. WAPA wishes to thank all of our members and our industry partners, including the Almond Board of California for their input on the comments. We especially want to thank the Acheson Group, our Food Safety Consultants for their efforts in this endeavor. For a full copy of WAPA’s comments, please visit our website at program to address PM10 emissions from agriculture that resulted in more reductions in emissions than originally proposed. EPA Region IX Administrator Jared Blumenfeld and Associate Air Director Kerry Drake were also in attendance with the Administrator. Joining WAPA was the Nisei Farmers League, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, California Citrus Mutual and the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations. WAPA Comments on California Water Action Plan The California Natural Resources Agency, State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Food and Agriculture collaborated on the release of a detailed draft action plan to help guide state efforts and resources on one of California’s most important resources, water. The California Water Action Plan focuses on the reliability EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Visits Valley of the state’s water supply, the needed ecosystem restoU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administra- ration to bring the water system back into balance, and tor Gina McCarthy visited Fresno this month, as part of a the resilience of the state’s water infrastructure. In May, day long visit to the valley to meet with agricultural Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed the agencies to stakeholders. WAPA staff Roger Isom, Casey Creamer identify key actions for the next one to five years that adand Aimee Brooks attended a special meeting to discuss dress urgent needs and provide the foundation for susair quality issues at Melkonian Farms near Fresno. WAPA tainable management of California’s water resources. President Isom specifically addressed the success of Some of the actions are new proposals, such as a greater “incentive programs” to address air quality issues citing focus on water recycling for potable reuse. Other actions the recent success of the tractor replacement program reflect work that state agencies are already planning or through the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Disengaged in, such as enhanced conservation measures for trict. Isom also mentioned the success that happens urban and agricultural water users, accelerated habitat when the agencies work with agriculture including the restoration efforts, and adding water storage capacity. success of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) The plan focuses on ten key actions:           WAPA President Isom speaking to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA Region IX Administrator Jared Blumenfeld Make Conservation a California Way of Life Increase Local and Regional Self-Reliance Achieve Co-Equal Goals for the Delta Protect and Restore Important Ecosystems Manage and Prepare for Dry Periods Expand Water Storage Capacity Provide Safe Drinking Water for All Communities Improve Flood Protection Increase Operational and Regulatory Efficiency Identify Sustainable and Integrated Financing Opportunities The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) submitted comments on the proposed plan, and focused our comments on the priority for additional water storage in the state and expressed concerns over possible regulation of water use efficiency and groundwater pumping restrictions for agriculture. A final plan is expected later this year.
  4. 4. Western Agricultural Processors Association 1785 N. Fine Avenue Fresno, CA 93727 PRESORTED STANDARD US POSTAGE PAID FRESNO, CA PERMIT NO. 2201 Merry Christmas! Safety Advisory COMPRESSED AIR PRECAUTIONS Compressed air is quite handy, but it can be dangerous if not used properly. Most shop air is under high pressure, often exceeding 100 p.s.i.. Yet a blast of air under 40 p.s.i. from four inches away can rupture an eardrum or cause a brain hemorrhage. As little as 12 p.s.i. can pop an eyeball from its socket. Air can enter the navel, even through a layer of clothing, and inflate and rupture the intestines. There are reports that compressed air under 80 p.s.i. struck a small hand would and inflated the arm, causing shooting pains from the fingers to the shoulder. Compressed air can also cause bubbles of air in the blood stream. One authority estimates that as little as 4 p.s.i. can rupture the bowels. Directed at the mouth, compressed air can rupture the lungs and intestines. It can be extremely dangerous to use compressed air to blow dust or dirt off clothing or the body. Horseplay is never funny when it causes an accident, and fooling around with compressed air can be lethal. The following guidelines can help reduce the risk of injury when using compressed air:  Examine all hoses, connections, and equipment to see that they are in good condition before turning the pressure on.  Never point an air hose nozzle at any part of your body or at any other person. NO HORSEPLAY WITH THE AIR HOSE.  Never kink the hose to stop the airflow, turn it off at the control valve.  When using compressed air for cleaning, make sure the pressure is no higher than 30 p.s.i.  Always wear eye protection when using compressed air to clean.  Before using compressed air, make sure that dirt will not be blown onto other workers in the area.  Turn off the valve on both the tool and the airline when the job is finished.  When disconnecting two lines, always have a firm hold on both lines.  Always use clean, dry compressed air when attempting to blow out disconnect boxes. Water in the airline can allow the current to flow through the line into your body, causing electrical shock. Use bleed valves to drain any water out of the air compressor prior to use around electricity. Note: NEVER look into the business end of a compressed air device and never point it at any part of the body.