Fresh fruits and vegetables are a crucial part of the human diet. These foods are dense in nutrients and vitamins that are essential to health. It is important to know how to safely handle produce to help ensure that harmful bacteria and viruses, such as E. coli and salmonella, do not enter the body and cause foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning).
Harmful bacteria that may be in the soil or water where produce grows can touch fruits and vegetables and contaminate them. Fresh produce may also become contaminated after it is harvested, such as during storage or preparation. Farmers have a responsibility to get un-contaminated food to consumers, but from there, it is important for consumers to follow food safety guidelines.
It is important to:
To reduce the risk of food poisoning, consider using a food wash. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is available for home use. CitroBio is a citrus extract wash for Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Cheese and Produce. It extends shelf life and has proven effectiveness against E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria, among other pathogens. It does not change color or flavor but gives a better quality and appearance, no rinsing is necessary. Our ingredients are FDA/GRAS approved (Generally Recognized As Safe). CitroBio has been professionally tested, is completely biodegradable and soluble in water, oils and waxes.
To date there is no actual cure for citrus greening disease or HLB. Since the disease is insect vectored, it is almost impossible to control the spread from infected groves. Many groves are just abandoned while some groves burn trees. Others implement an advanced nutrition program applying trace nutrients to the leaves or to the roots, which in some cases has helped infected trees maintain yields.
Antibiotics and other known drugs or compounds that are safe for human consumption are also being tested for their ability to suppress the bacteria. A number of promising compounds have been identified and are already approved for use on food crops. They could be tested on actual field trees soon but remain expensive and impractical solutions.
Citrus trees are propagated as a scion (trunk and branches) grafted onto a rootstock. Seventeen rootstocks have been identified by the University of Florida that seem to tolerate the HLB infection well, and these are all being tested throughout the state. In lieu of antibiotics or new genetically modified crops, one tactic to fight citrus greening is to focus on root health. (Source: FoodNutritionScience.com)
In many cases of HLB, poorly developed root symptoms are observed. This is not a surprise since citrus greening is a vascular disease. Ensuring the best soil and root health is essential to preventing diseases such as citrus greening. RGA Rapid Growth Activator has performed several root health studies in trees infected with citrus greening disease. Results show treated trees show significant new white root growth, new shoots on trees, and less fruit drop than untreated trees. Click here to see our root health studies.
Last week, 19 people across seven states were sickened from an outbreak strain of E. coli, which was linked to chicken salad from Costco made with rotisserie chicken. This outbreak was serious, causing two people serious kidney problems and five people hospitalizations.
The CDC is investigating the outbreak, which was mostly contained in the West with Colorado, Montana, and Utah making up the majority of the illnesses. The rotisserie chicken has been identified as the source of the outbreak. People who purchased chicken salad or rotisserie chicken from Costco prior to November 20th were advised to throw it away immediately.
This E. coli outbreak falls on the heels of the Chipotle incident, where more than 40 people fell ill with E. coli food poisoning after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill in six different states. The outbreak was coast-to-coast, including California, Ohio, New York and Minnesota. Forty-five people got sick, with 16 people hospitalized.
With more and more consumers wanting fresh, non-processed foods, foodborne illnesses are on the rise. While such products are generally healthier, cooking and processing can kill pathogens that make people sick. The source of Chipotle’s outbreak is not confirmed, but is thought to be produce or another perishable item, since high heat kills E. coli and it is not likely that all of the affected restaurants undercooked their meat.
Plain water is good for removing dirt and loose debris from produce, but for reducing contaminants and controlling bacteria, as well as extending the shelf life of food, we recommend CitroBio Fresh Food Wash. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. To learn more, click here.
This September, we partnered with a golf course in Davenport, Florida, that was having problems with its greens. The greens were declining with fungal and nematode disease pressure. They then developed Pythium Disease after heavy rains and high humidity nearly destroyed several greens.
RGA was applied with a spray boom on the greens at a rate of 1/2 lb per acre. The application was applied in mid-September, 2015. RGA was watered in for ten minutes after the boom application via standard irrigation. The results were stunning: spots that were devoid of grass are thick and lush again, and the grass was greener, thicker, and brighter than ever.
Rapid Growth Activator (RGA) was specifically formulated to re-establish beneficial microbial populations and provide soil with the necessary components to promote vigorous growth. RGA:
Although Citrus Greening Disease has taken a heavy toll on citrus production in Florida, citrus growers on the Gulf Coast of Florida aren’t experiencing as tough of a loss as some other regions of Florida. It is thought that this is due to this region of Florida having a better soil profile that maintains water and nutrition better than other parts of the state.
Many citrus groves in the Gulf Coast region are flourishing. "Overall, the well-maintained groves in the region appear to have adapted to HLB by improving tree health and productivity," noted nursery owner Phil Rucks in a recent issue of Gulf Coast Growers News.
Replanting new trees will help the future of the citrus industry in Florida, but can be financially difficult for many growers. Even with replanting, young trees can be particularly vulnerable to weather changes, and disease. Soil and root health is critical to continuing to maintain strong trees and groves. To maintain the health of root systems, consider Rapid Growth Activator. RGA provides enumerable benefits to both the soil and the plant. Specifically, the microbial system will promote root growth and enhance root architecture. These aspects are crucial for diseased trees and young trees.
A healthy root minimizes nutrient leaching, aids in nutrient cycling, enhances nutrient absorption thereby stimulating plant growth and increasing resistance to abiotic stress. Click here to see our root health studies.
This week has not offered a feeling of positivity in the Florida citrus industry as forecasting for the 2015-2016 growing season was adjusted down about 7.5 percent Tuesday from the initial prediction made a month ago by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The new prediction reflects a 24% decline from last year's harvest.
The numbers are the lowest that have been announced since the 1963-1964 season. “This reduced forecast underscores the magnitude of the challenge facing the Florida citrus industry,” Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said in a statement.
What is contributing to the decline of the citrus industry? Several factors, including less farming land as massive development has picked up following the 2008 recession; but the main culprit of decline is the dreaded citrus greening disease, or HLB.
RGA Rapid Growth Activator is an all-natural, eco-friendly "green" product specially formulated to enhance agriculture production. Proudly made in U.S.A. Studies available demonstrate efficacy even in citrus trees damaged with HLB (citrus greening).
RGA provides enumerable benefits to both the soil and the plant. Specifically the microbial system will promote root growth and enhance root architecture. These aspects are crucial for diseased trees and young trees. A healthy root minimizes nutrient leaching, aids in nutrient cycling, enhances nutrient absorption thereby stimulating plant growth and increasing resistance to abiotic stress.
Citrus trees are not hardy in cold conditions, and even the strongest, most established trees need additional help in winter. When frost is expected, a little preparation goes a long way to maintain the health of a citrus tree. One of the most important things is to try to keep the roots of the tree warm and healthy.
For larger/older trees, preparing for freezes involves several steps:
For trees that are still somewhat small:
For very young trees:
Pile about a foot of soil on the trunk for extra several degrees of cold protection. Soil is dark and will absorb sunlight, keeping roots warm. This is called "banking" trees and may be done in the fall before the chance of frost for the best level of protection. Tree trunks can also be wrapped with tree wrap blankets.
Get on offense this winter with RGA Rapid Growth Activator. RGA helps maintain the root system of trees, which is very important in the colder winter months, even in warm climates. Start now before the winter months to protect your profits and help your trees stay healthy and strong. Click here to learn more.
November is quickly getting underway and it’s almost time for Thanksgiving chefs to head to the grocery store to select the star of the show: the Thanksgiving turkey. There are two ways to purchase a turkey - fresh or frozen. Learn more about the differences below.
Frozen turkeys, those chilled at or below 0°F, are actually fresher than “fresh” turkeys. Frozen turkeys are flash-frozen immediately after being butchered, and many turkeys that are labeled as “fresh” have actually been frozen and defrosted. Turkeys that have been chilled between 0°F and 26°F can be called hard-chilled or not previously frozen. A turkey may only be labeled “fresh” if it has never been chilled below 26°F.
When ordering a fresh turkey, be sure to pick it up from the store only a day or two in advance of Thanksgiving. A fresh turkey may only last 1-2 days; be very sure to comply with the “Use By” date to avoid contamination and food poisoning.
For maximum food safety, it is preferred to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Place the turkey in its original wrapper on a cookie sheet in the fridge. Put the turkey as far back as it will go in the refrigerator. Never defrost a turkey at room temperature. For each five pounds of turkey, 24 hours of thaw time will be required in the refrigerator (a 20 lb turkey will take 4 full days). To tell if your turkey is thawed, use a digital-read food thermometer - you want a 40-45°F reading throughout.
If you have forgotten to place your turkey in the refrigerator to thaw, there is a speedy method to defrost the bird - by immersing in cold water in its original wrapping. The water must be changed once the water temperature reaches 40-45°F, or every 20-30 minutes. It will take 30 minutes per pound (approximately) to thaw the turkey, and it must be cooked immediately following this thawing method.
In addition to safely thawing, remember to use all basic food safety practices when handling raw turkey. Using CitroBio Fresh Food Wash when safely thawing and preparing Thanksgiving turkey controls bacteria, as well as extends the shelf life of fresh turkey. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of turkey. It can also be used to clean kitchen utensils and cooking surfaces to reduce the threat of cross-contamination throughout the Thanksgiving meal preparation and cleanup. Click here to order CitroBio Fresh Food Wash for home use.
Seafoods, like other foods, can contain illness-causing bacteria and viruses. These microorganisms come from a variety of means including the environment, pollution of the water, or contamination.
Contamination may be caused by many things including seafood handlers, equipment on boats and food processing factories, or the natural environment. Cooking fresh seafood to an internal temperature of 140°F helps to kill bacteria and viruses, but these microorganisms can cause illness when they are present in seafoods consumed raw, or in processed seafoods.
Cross-contamination of seafood can be prevented through good sanitation, personal hygiene, and seafood handling practices. Food handlers should be certain to:
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is effective in controlling bacteria, as well as extending the shelf life of seafood. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio to seafood. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of seafood. CitroBio can also be used to clean utensils and cooking surfaces to reduce the threat of cross-contamination throughout the food processing industry. To learn more, click here.
Currently in Texas, the citrus industry is wearily watching citrus greening, or HLB, creep into the state’s citrus crop and is trying to maintain the health of its trees. There are currently two large areas where HLB has been discovered: around Houston and at the southernmost tip of Texas. The Texas Department of Agriculture is carefully monitoring the situation and has issued a quarantine for the areas pictured. Citrus plants, leaves, or twigs are not allowed to be moved outside of the quarantine area to prevent the spread of citrus greening disease (HLB).
Citrus greening disease does not infect humans or animals, but has debilitated millions of citrus crops around the world. Citrus greening disease is named for the green, lopsided, and bitter fruit it causes trees to produce. HLB can be diagnosed by blotched, streaked or spotted leaves; fruit that is misshapen or retains a green color at the bottom; and bitter taste. Most trees infected with citrus greening die within a few years.
Facts about citrus greening and how it harms the citrus industry:
If your citrus crop is suffering and showing fruit drop or signs of disease, contact us to learn more about RGA Rapid Growth Activator. RGA is a natural defender against citrus greening disease/HLB. Anyone can use RGA, from citrus farms to the casual gardener. View our field studies here.
There is worry in the citrus industry that research on a cure for HLB / citrus greening is taking too long to let the industry survive. Agricultural researchers have received millions in grants and funding to help fight citrus greening disease, or HLB. While the search for a cure continues, citrus crops are dwindling every year.
The USDA has issued its initial forecast for the 2015-2016 Florida orange crop. The USDA estimates a harvest of 80 million boxes, down 17 percent from last season, which produced almost 8 million fewer boxes than the year before. This is a continuing trend, and while growers are trying to get new bactericides approved for use on citrus, researchers are looking at multiple ways to kill the Asian psyllid that spreads the bacteria, and creating new strains of trees that are immune to the disease.
Our field trials with RGA Rapid Growth Activator show that trees even infected with HLB are showing new growth, and less fruit drop, when treated with RGA. RGA provides enumerable benefits to both the soil and the plant. Specifically the microbial system will promote root growth and enhance root architecture. These aspects are crucial for diseased trees and young trees. View our studies here. Click here to purchase RGA.
Traps have already been put in the water in anticipation of stone crab season, which officially opens in Florida as of October 15. The season runs through May 15, and locals look forward to eating fresh stone crab meat every year. The claws of a stone crab are considered a delicacy and are one of the major seafood products in the state of Florida and the Gulf Coast region.
With stone crab claw harvests being much smaller than average in recent years, it is more important than ever to make sure the process of catching and harvesting is as efficient and profit-maximizing as possible. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash can be used throughout the entire seafood harvesting process to keep seafood fresher and extend the shelf life of fresh seafood. It also reduces the risk of cross-contamination during the commercial fishing and crabbing process.
All seafood can also be treated with CitroBio throughout the entire seafood packaging process and prior to freezing seafood. Use CitroBio for safer, cleaner seafood and to extend the shelf life of seafood such as stone crab claws, shellfish, shrimp, fish and more. There are many ways you can use CitroBio in the seafood harvesting and packaging process:
Get in touch with us to receive a sample of CitroBio.
RGA Rapid Growth Activator will be at the annual PRVCGA crop estimate luncheon. The luncheon will be held October 9th at 11:30 a.m. in Hardee County at the Pioneer Park Nickerson/Ullrich Building on the corner of U.S. Highway 17 and S.R. 64 Zolfo Springs, FL 33890. We are looking forward to meeting and mingling with our fellow Association members and to hearing new information about the 2015/2016 orange crop.
RGA is a proud supporter of the Peace River Valley Citrus Association. We will have information about our product available at the luncheon, as well as staff members on site to speak with growers. Rapid Growth Activator is proven to promote a higher yield with less fruit drop and a higher Brix measurement. RGA is not a fertilizer nor a pesticide. It works by re-establishing beneficial microbial populations and providing soil with the necessary components to promote vigorous plant growth, from the ground up.
RGA is so effective, it is even helping trees infected with Citrus Greening disease/HLB. Click here to view our documented field trials.
Citrus growers in Florida are continuing to be concerned about citrus greening disease or HLB. HLB is caused by a bacterium that is primarily found in the vascular system of a tree. Delivery of treatments to the vascular system of a tree at a high enough concentration to kill the bacteria is difficult, and many of the most effective chemicals that penetrate trees are proprietary formulations by commercial brands. Therefore, they are not available to growers.
RGA Rapid Growth Activator works from the roots up, strengthening the vascular system and helping trees maintain their health and retain fruit. RGA can help sustain citrus by suppressing the bacteria in infected trees and allowing for new vascular tissue in plants that conducts sugars and other metabolic products downward from the leaves. RGA is not a "fertilizer," but it is effective at increasing yield, reducing fruit drop, and shows efficacy even in trees infected with HLB. Its formula contains the perfect combination of beneficial soil bacteria, nutrients and vitamins to create the best possible solution for your crop.
RGA is produced by a natural fermentation process. The proprietary strains of natural soil present in this formula are grown in a laboratory, under strict sterile media and high standards. Click here to email us to order RGA.
Each year, 1 in 6 Americans, or 48 million people, get sick from a foodborne disease the interferes with work or school. Employers are feeling the strain of rising healthcare costs associated with the treatment of foodborne illness, as well as the ripple effect that these illnesses cause on the greater economy.
Unfortunately, it is more difficult than ever to control foodborne illness. More globalized food production means that food takes a longer, more complicated path from farm to fork that takes longer to trace and pinpoint. A rising number of multistate outbreaks are complex to track and resolve, and new strains of germs and toxins that are resistant to antibiotics are constantly evolving.
Reducing the rate of foodborne illness by 10% would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick each year. Employers can help their employees control foodborne illnesses in many ways:
Washing food before consuming is a food safety best practice. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash can be used on produce, seafood, sushi, and meat of all types to remove contaminants. To purchase CitroBio, click here to contact us.
In recent news, cucumbers have been recalled after salmonella has poisoned over 340 people in 30 states. Two people, one in Texas and one in California, died from food poisoning from the cucumbers. The CDC traced the infected cucumbers back to Mexico, distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. The company, based in San Diego, announced a recall last week that covers cucumbers grown in northern Mexico and sold under the company’s “Limited Edition” label from Aug. 1 to Thursday. Consumers are advised to return the cucumbers or to dispose of them.
This isn't the first salmonella outbreak of 2015. An outbreak across nine states in May was linked to raw tuna used in sushi and resulted in 10 hospitalizations. The CDC most recently estimated that salmonella sickens one million people in the U.S. yearly, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths as a result.
To prevent poisoning from salmonella or other food-borne bacteria and viruses, it is important to practice good food safety techniques and thoroughly wash and clean fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meat. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash can be used on produce, seafood, sushi, and meat of all types to remove contaminants. To learn more about CitroBio, click here.
A better question is, what CAN’T you clean with CitroBio? CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is unique in that you can not only wash produce, but meat, seafood, poultry, and more! You can even clean your kitchen with CitroBio. While CitroBio is also used in food processing plants, on fishing boats and in other commercial applications, it is gentle enough for home use.
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash:
Use CitroBio to clean all fresh produce (even fruit you are going to peel) such as:
Use CitroBio Fresh Food Wash on meat, including:
CitroBio for home use will soon be available for purchase online! Check back often, or click here to sign up for our newsletter to be alerted when it is available.
Two primary fertilizer nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorus. Fertilizers used in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings contain many of the same ingredients. In a non-agricultural setting, the impact of fertilizers may seem small, isolated to one lawn or garden. However, the total area of lawns and gardens in urban environments may be significant, creating a large cumulative effect.
Phosphorous isn’t very mobile and is quickly absorbed into soil, but can potentially damage water sources such as rivers, lakes and streams if not absorbed. Unlike phosphorus, nitrogen in its nitrate form is completely soluble and highly mobile in soil. It can readily leach downward and contaminate groundwater supplies. According to the EPA, too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae harm water quality, leading to illnesses in fish and the death of large numbers of fish. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can make people sick if they come into contact with polluted water, consume tainted fish or shellfish, or drink contaminated water.
Nutrient pollution in groundwater - which millions of people in the United States use as their drinking water source - can be harmful, even at low levels. Infants are vulnerable to a nitrogen-based compound called nitrates in drinking water. Excess nitrogen in the atmosphere can produce pollutants such as ammonia and ozone, which can impair our ability to breathe, limit visibility and alter plant growth. When excess nitrogen comes back to earth from the atmosphere, it can harm the health of forests, soils and waterways.
RGA Rapid Growth Activator is an all-natural, non-GMO product that improves nutrient absorption, reducing the need to use fertilizer while achieving maximum growth and development in crops, trees, flowers, and more. It also promotes nitrogen fixation in the soil, which further reduces fertilizer requirements. Contact us to learn more about or purchase our made in the U.S.A. product.
See you at Citrus Expo August 19-20, 2015 at the Lee Civic Center in North Ft. Myers, Florida! The Citrus Expo has been around since 1992 and has grown to become the world’s premier seminar and trade show program for citrus growers and industry professionals. The educational benefits provided for the citrus industry are numerous and we look forward to learning and networking with fellow industry professionals!
RGA Rapid Growth Activator and CitroBio will be exhibiting at Booths 210 and 212. Your best tools for great farming and processing: RGA for pre-harvest and CitroBio for post-harvesting.
We are excited to show the benefits of treating healthy and diseased citrus trees with RGA Rapid Growth Activator! RGA is a natural soil product produced by a natural fermentation process. When it is used on healthy and diseased citrus trees, it has been shown to provide enumerable benefits to the soil and the plant. Benefits of RGA Rapid Growth Activator include:
CitroBio will also be exhibiting at Citrus Expo. CitroBio is a citrus extract wash for Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Cheese and Produce. It extends shelf life and has proven effectiveness against E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria, among other pathogens. It does not change color or flavor but gives a better quality and appearance, no rinsing is necessary. Our ingredients are FDA/GRAS approved (Generally Recognized As Safe) and Kosher Certified. CitroBio has been professionally tested, is completely biodegradable and soluble in water, oils and waxes.
Click here to read more about CitroBio.
These days, pet food recalls seem to be more common than recalls on food for human consumption. Pet food is made from "feed grade" ingredients, which differ from "food grade" ingredients that are fit for human consumption. Feed grade products can contain materials that may be harmful to humans, but are fine for animals to consume. There are many pet food companies that co-pack from several manufacturers, so when contamination occurs, multiple pet foods may be involved.
Contaminants like salmonella, listeria, and e.Coli are harmful to dogs and cats, and farm animals, as well as humans. Practice good pet food safety habits to avoid contamination where possible:
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is an excellent product for sanitation in not only the pet food manufacturing process, but for home use. Use CitroBio to clean pet dishes, food prep surfaces, for cleaning accidents on tile floors, and more. Contact us today to inquire about purchasing CitroBio for use with your pets.