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Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Literature Attribute Important Health Benefits to Almonds

New research conducted by Dr. Padma Venkatasubramanian and Dr. Subrahmanya Kumar of Trans-Disciplinary University (TDU) in New Delhi indicates that almonds are not only recognized in Western science for packing a nutrition punch, but also prized for their qualities and health benefits in traditional Indian medicinal systems.     Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine, dates back 3,000 years. It integrates and treats body, mind and spirit using a comprehensive holistic approach, especially by emphasizing diet, meditation and yoga.1   Researchers conducted an exhaustive search of published literature sources of traditional Indian medicinal systems - Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha – that are recognized by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), Government of India.   Texts from these traditional medicinal systems refer to almond health benefits frequently, including use of various varieties, parts, their functional properties, pharmacological actions and therapeutic indications. In addition, the texts refer to multiple compound formulations using almonds as an ingredient.   In a press conference organized by Almond Board of California on July 20, 2017, in Bengaluru, India, Dr. Padma presented her findings. Initial media pick-up is strong, with more than 50 print articles, several online clips and nearly 14 million impressions. We are looking at the best ways to share our learnings about almonds and traditional Indian medicinal systems in regions around the world.     [1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ayurveda    
Newsletter
Sep 01, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Now Available: New Almond Industry Map Layers

Since its launch last December, the California Almond industry map has served as a visual tool for almond growers, processors, allied industry and others to view analyses showing where almond acreage is located throughout the state, orchard age and how suitable the land beneath those orchards might be for groundwater recharge.    Starting today, three new layers are available, all of which can be accessed at Almonds.com/Maps. They include 2016 almond acreage, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) water quality coalition boundaries and political district boundaries for California Assembly and Senate, as well as U.S. Congress.   The maps, developed in partnership with Land IQ, a Sacramento-based agricultural and environmental scientific research and consulting firm, constitute a comprehensive, living map of California Almonds that draws upon multiple sources of information and extensive validation to create a highly accurate orchard-by-orchard view of the industry.   Based on the mapping assessment of California Almond orchards in 2016, Land IQ found that there were 1,261,915 acres of almonds. In the same year, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated acreage of 1,240,000. With regard to 2016 bearing almond acreage, Land IQ found that there were 981,813 acres while USDA-NASS indicated 940,000 acres.1 2 Those using this new layer on the web map should note that for orchards planted in 2015 and 2016, only those fields that were visually confirmed from ground truthing appear on the map; however, the numerical Land IQ almond acreage estimates above account for these orchards.3      Given the map’s interactive nature, users can zero in on the relevant areas of the state relative to their operations and understand how their geographic location intersects with various analyzed topics.    For instance, the new political districts map layers provide district boundaries and numbers as well as the name of the associated representative and their political party.   For more information on the California Almond Industry map or to access them, visit Almonds.com/Maps. Any technical questions can be directed to Land IQ at 916.265.6358 or technical.support@landiq.com.     [1] Land IQ. California Statewide Almond Mapping - 2016. Aug. 2017. Based on data from USDA National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) and USGS Landsat. [2] USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Field Office. 2016 California Almond Acreage Report. Apr. 2017 [3] This segment of non-bearing acreage is the most difficult to estimate and cannot be remotely sensed. The numerical estimates for 2015 and 2016 rely on ground truthing and other non-spatial information, resulting in an accuracy of +/- 10% for those years.    
Newsletter
Sep 01, 2017 // About the Almond Industry

Serving Up #AlmondSustainability

While the drought generated extensive conversation about almond water usage, the continued spotlight on almond growing practices gives us an opportunity to share the many great improvements and practices adopted by the California Almond industry with the public. To help grow what customers and consumer know about almonds, Almond Board of California (ABC) ran a campaign in July and August around #AlmondSustainability. It’s not just the healthy snack we grow, but how we grow it that is increasingly important. The health benefits of eating a serving of almonds is well known, but many are unaware of the specifics of how almonds are grown, let alone that they grow on trees. This campaign aims to show them how almonds and those who farm them can provide benefits for our local communities and the planet, too. Using 23 bite-sized kernels of knowledge (or one serving of our favorite nut), we’re celebrating the industry’s responsible farming practices across many areas including water, coproducts, honey bee health, orchard management and more. Through research, we found that consumers are looking for more digestible information, graphics, and videos that they can engage with on social media, but also want to have access to additional information if they want to learn more. As a result, kernels in this campaign were shared across North America consumer-facing and industry-facing social channels, and then linked to the Almonds.com blog where those interested can dig in and learn more about each kernel. In addition, the campaign included digital and radio ads targeting California residents. See the kernels at ow.ly/Opro30cBo4c and follow along with #almondsustainability on social media. Use these kernels as inspiration to share how you grow with neighbors and friends outside of agriculture. 
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Environmental Sustainability

Official Produce Safety Training Now Available!

Safe Food Alliance is offering the FDA-approved “Produce Safety Alliance” Grower training course, which helps growers meet the requirements of the new Produce Safety rule under the FDA’s “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA), if they are not electing to file for the Produce Safety exemption (see more below). The Produce Safety course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. This training is recognized by the FDA as meeting the FSMA training requirement § 112.22(c) that for each farm: “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.” View full Details and trainings>> Upcoming Dates and Locations August 17th in Stockton, CA August 31st in Tulare, CA IMPORTANT NOTE: All produce grown in the U.S. must comply with the Produce Safety rule, unless it falls under an exemption. ABC has been engaged with the FDA to determine an exemption for almond growers. Growers may be exempt from complying with the Produce Safety rule if they: 1) Provide a written disclosure to their huller/sheller and handler stating that the almonds have not been processed to reduce the presence of microorganisms (by January 2018 for large farms), and 2) Annually obtain a written assurance from their handler indicating that the almonds have been properly treated (required two years following written disclosure compliance date) ABC is in the process of developing a written disclosure form, which will be available soon. Written disclosure could be provided in the form of grower tags, contracts or other paperwork. Visit almonds.com/growers/fsma for more information, and make sure to check back frequently for updates! 
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety

FSMA Files: Anatomy of FSMA - How Each Rule Applies to Almonds

Get your FSMA Facts straight from the experts. Almond Board of California has engaged a consulting firm whose lawyers have worked with FSMA since its beginning.  In this month’s FSMA Files column they answer your questions about which FSMA rules the almond industry needs to address.   Question: We often see the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules referenced in isolation, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Can you name each of the FSMA rules and explain how it applies to the almond industry?   There are 7 FSMA rules, but only 6 that the almond industry potentially needs to address, based on business structure and operations. They are as follows:   Produce Safety: Establishes federal food safety regulations for farms covering: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; worker hygiene and training; buildings, tools and equipment; growing, harvesting, packing and holding; and management of domesticated and wild animals. Applies to almond growers, as well as huller/shellers and brownskin almond handlers that meet the primary or secondary farm definition. Next Compliance Deadline: Jan. 26, 2018 for large farms. Two options exist for complying with the Produce Safety Rule.  You can utilize the Produce Safety Rule exemption for commercial processing, or comply with all applicable Produce Safety Rule requirements.  Learn about both options in the FSMA Fact Sheets below: Is My Operation a "Farm" Covered by the Produce Safety Rule? What Do Farms Need to Do to Comply with FSMA? What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have?   Preventive Controls for Human Food: Requires facilities to conduct a hazard analysis and implement a food safety plan, with additional requirements existing around supply chain controls and employee training. Applies to almond handlers and huller/shellers not meeting the primary or secondary farm definition or that are farm mixed type facilities, as well as custom processors and others engaged in manufacturing/processing. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheets: What Do "Facilities" Need to Do to Comply with the FSMA Preventative Controls Rule? What Do I need to do to Comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations?  What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have?   Preventive Controls for Animal Food: Is similar to the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule and establishes requirements for animal food that are relevant under two conditions: 1) If you are a facility that manufactures feed for animals or 2) If you’re a facility that sends human food byproducts (e.g. hulls/shells) for use as animal feed. Applies to facilities such as non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do if I Send Human Food By-Products for Use as Animal Food?   Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: Reflects longstanding industry best practices for food transportation and establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, records, training and waivers. This rule applies to anyone that is transporting food that is not a farm. You are exempt from this rule if the food is fully enclosed in a container and does not require temperature control for safety. Next Compliance Deadline: Apr. 6, 2018 for midsize businesses FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do to Comply with the Sanitary Food Transportation Rule?   Intentional Adulteration: Outlines risk-reducing strategies to prevent intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale public health harm and requires, for the first time, a food defense plan. Applies to facilities including non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: July 26, 2019 for large businesses.   Foreign Supplier Verification Program: Requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate programs in place to ensure the food coming into the U.S. meets food safety standards comparable to those in the U.S. Applies to almond handlers that import ingredients directly from a foreign supplier (you are exempt from this rule if you purchase ingredients from a U.S. supplier). Compliance Deadline: Began May 20, 2017 for all businesses.   FSMA Fact Sheet: How do I Comply with Supplier Verification Requirements?   Accredited Third-Party Certification:  Establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies/auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications outside the U.S. It would only apply in two situations, neither of which affect the U.S. almond industry: 1) if you’re trying to be part of FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program or 2) if you’re importing food from a country for which FDA requires certification as a condition of import.   New resources to help the almond industry get up-to-speed on FSMA are now available on the grower and processor webpages.    Please keep your questions coming! You can send them to Tim Birmingham at tbirmingham@almondboard.com with the subject line “FSMA Files.”        ABC utilized input from Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida, lawyers with Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, DC. in the preparation of this column. The FSMA Files column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety

California Almond Industry Comments on Pesticide Reviews

Almond Board of California (ABC) works very closely with the Almond Alliance of California to submit comments on a variety of published regulations. Recently the Almond Alliance submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on three pesticides undergoing registration review on behalf of ABC and the almond industry. For each, we provided usage rates and trends for the past five years, emphasized the important role these products play in continued production and highlighted how availability of products with multiple modes of action helps reduce the risk of resistance development. The EPA is required to review each pesticide every 15 years to ensure that they continue to satisfy the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) standard for registration and can still be used without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. The three pesticides included in the comments were Cyprodinil (Vangard, Inspire Super), which is used to treat fungal diseases including brown rot blossom blight, green fruit rot (jacket rot) and shot hole; 2,4-D, an important herbicide for the California Almond industry; and Clothianidin – neonicotinoids and assessments of their potential impact to pollinators were the focus of these comments. This preliminary bee risk assessment covered clothianidin and thiamethoxam, although only clothianidin is used in almonds. Clothianidin (Belay) is one of few alternatives available to control leaffooted bug and stink bugs and would be increasingly important if access to other alternatives, such as chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) and pyrethroids (e.g. Warrior, Brigade, etc), was lost (the Almond Alliance previously submitted comments on both, which are still under review by the EPA). We will continue to keep you apprised of regulatory comments submitted on behalf of the California Almond industry.
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Government Affairs

Almond Grower Helps Provide Bees with a Well-Rounded Diet

Research shows that honey bees properly nourished with a diverse diet are better able to fend off stressors, such as pests and parasites leading to stronger hives. Almond grower Nick Edsall believes that improving the diet of pollinators by providing cover crop forage in his orchard middles also improves pollination. “The almond pollen provides good food for the bees, but it’s always good to have a balanced diet for bees as it is for humans, Edsall said. “If you can have other food sources out there it strengthens the colonies, so it helps crop pollination while helping improve the health of colonies at the same time. Edsall this year planted forage cover crops in about 5% of the 4,500 acres of almonds he manages for Bullseye Farms in Woodland, Calif. The trial went so well, he plans to expand that acreage next year to about 20% of the total acreage. He originally looked at cover crops to improve water penetration on challenging fields, planting triticale last fall to improve soil health on heavy clay soils. “In those fields, we had a lot of cracking and actually lost a lot of nuts in cracks at harvest and had a hard time making adjustments with our sweepers. We planted triticale and it made a big difference, so we were looking at expanding our use of cover crops,” Edsall said. After hearing about the Seeds for Bees program through Project Apis m. (PAm), Edsall decided this season to explore cover crop mixes that would provide the additional benefit of providing flowering forage for honey bees in the periods surrounding almond bloom – specifically before and after when there is a shortage of forage. PAm has identified low-moisture-requiring seed mixes, seed suppliers, and planting regimes for various California climates specific to bee habitat in almonds, including specially blended mustard mix for fall and winter bloom and clover mix and lana vetch for spring bloom. It works with seed suppliers in bee growing regions throughout California to provide specially blended bee forage mixes that match individual growers’ operations and objectives. PAm also provides technical advice for growers looking to get started on a bee forage cover crop program. One of Bullseye’s beekeepers provided the added benefit of discounting the cost of hive rental because forage was planted. “It all kind of worked together for us. We understand how important pollinators are for the almond crop, and this was an opportunity to plant crops for soil health and water penetration while also feeding bees when they arrive in late winter,” Edsall said. He planted about 100 acres of vetch and 60 acres of clover mix, along with a few rows of mustard-radish mix last October. Edsall said he wanted to trial the mustard on a few rows first to be sure excess biomass wouldn’t create problems interfering with orchard operations in spring or fall harvest. Even with all this year’s rain, by late July Edsall found that wasn’t the case. “We planted with a seed drill in October and got plenty of moisture to bring the crop up. Then we had a wet spring to keep the cover crops going,” he said. “We had plenty of moisture so we didn’t have to worry about the cover crops drying the soil, and actually saw a benefit in keeping the soil from getting too saturated so we could get our equipment on the ground a little earlier with the cover crop holding the soil together.” Edsall also saw distinct benefits in water penetration on those heavy clay fields and even after bees were removed he saw several wild bees continue to fly around those cover crop orchards. Bullseye Farms mowed the cover crops early in the season two to three inches above the ground to keep growth under control. The crop still pushed flowers in the spring. To terminate the annual crops, Edsall mowed a couple more times starting in mid-May very close the ground. “We had worried about competition of cover crop when almonds bloom, but we are seeing research that shows bees actually prefer the almond pollen so they are collecting almond pollen in the morning and forage in the afternoons once almond pollen has been worked,” he said. “Having cover crops out there blooming seems to help the pollination of the crop, whether colonies are stronger because of a balanced diet or bees are working harder.” This year’s crop went so well Edsall plans to increase plantings this fall with a cover crop rotation that includes alternate rows of triticale in one row and legumes or mustard on alternate rows. “We had a good experience and are excited this fall to try doing much more with cover crops in our almonds. It’s another crop out there so you have to take time to manage it, and it takes a little extra effort, but the benefits seem to be well worth it for us.” More information on resources for planting bee forage in almonds can be found on the PAm website at ProjectApism.org. Additionally, visit Almonds.com/Pollination for more ways that almond growers can benefit honey bees year-round.
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Almond Bloom and Bees

FSMA Files: Anatomy of FSMA - How Each Rule Applies to Almonds

Get your FSMA Facts straight from the experts. Almond Board of California has engaged a consulting firm whose lawyers have worked with FSMA since its beginning.  In this month’s FSMA Files column they answer your questions about which FSMA rules the almond industry needs to address. Question: We often see the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules referenced in isolation, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Can you name each of the FSMA rules and explain how it applies to the almond industry? There are 7 FSMA rules, but only 6 that the almond industry potentially needs to address, based on business structure and operations. They are as follows: Produce Safety: Establishes federal food safety regulations for farms covering: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; worker hygiene and training; buildings, tools and equipment; growing, harvesting, packing and holding; and management of domesticated and wild animals. Applies to almond growers, as well as huller/shellers and brownskin almond handlers that meet the primary or secondary farm definition. Next Compliance Deadline: Jan. 26, 2018 for large farms. Two options exist for complying with the Produce Safety Rule.  You can utilize the Produce Safety Rule exemption for commercial processing, or comply with all applicable Produce Safety Rule requirements.  Learn about both options in the FSMA Fact Sheets below: Is My Operation a "Farm" Covered by the Produce Safety Rule? What Do Farms Need to Do to Comply with FSMA? What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have? Preventive Controls for Human Food: Requires facilities to conduct a hazard analysis and implement a food safety plan, with additional requirements existing around supply chain controls and employee training. Applies to almond handlers and huller/shellers not meeting the primary or secondary farm definition or that are farm mixed type facilities, as well as custom processors and others engaged in manufacturing/processing. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheets: What Do "Facilities" Need to Do to Comply with the FSMA Preventative Controls Rule? What Do I need to Do to Comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations?  What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have? Preventive Controls for Animal Food: Is similar to the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule and establishes requirements for animal food that are relevant under two conditions: 1) If you are a facility that manufactures feed for animals or 2) If you’re a facility that sends human food byproducts (e.g. hulls/shells) for use as animal feed. Applies to facilities such as non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do if I Send Human Food By-Products for Use as Animal Food? Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: Reflects longstanding industry best practices for food transportation and establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, records, training and waivers. This rule applies to anyone that is transporting food that is not a farm. You are exempt from this rule if the food is fully enclosed in a container and does not require temperature control for safety. Next Compliance Deadline: Apr. 6, 2018 for midsize businesses FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do to Comply with the Sanitary Food Transportation Rule? Intentional Adulteration: Outlines risk-reducing strategies to prevent intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale public health harm and requires, for the first time, a food defense plan. Applies to facilities including non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: July 26, 2019 for large businesses. Foreign Supplier Verification Program: Requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate programs in place to ensure the food coming into the U.S. meets food safety standards comparable to those in the U.S. Applies to almond handlers that import ingredients directly from a foreign supplier (you are exempt from this rule if you purchase ingredients from a U.S. supplier). Compliance Deadline: Began May 20, 2017 for all businesses.   FSMA Fact Sheet:  How do I Comply with Supplier Verification Requirements? Accredited Third-Party Certification:  Establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies/auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications outside the U.S. It would only apply in two situations, neither of which affect the U.S. almond industry: 1) if you’re trying to be part of FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program or 2) if you’re importing food from a country for which FDA requires certification as a condition of import. New resources to help the almond industry get up-to-speed on FSMA are now available on the grower and processor webpages.  Please keep your questions coming! You can send them to Tim Birmingham at tbirmingham@almondboard.com with the subject line “FSMA Files.”    ABC utilized input from Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida, lawyers with Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, DC. in the preparation of this column. The FSMA Files column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  
Newsletter
Aug 11, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety
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