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» July 9, 2007 «
Mandatory food-safety audits for handlers of lettuce, spinach and other leafy green crops will begin two weeks from today (Monday). The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement announced (Friday) that the audit program starts July 23rd. At that time, the board's chairman says, handlers will certify to their customers that leafy greens have been grown under the highest food-safety standards available. Handlers in the agreement represent 99 percent of the leafy greens grown in the state.
Warmer temperatures have accelerated the growth of brussels sprouts along California's Central Coast. Harvest will start within a few days in Santa Cruz County. That's about a week earlier than average, but a month earlier than the harvest began a year ago. Growers say the crop looks good, as favorable weather has helped produce high-quality sprouts. Consumers should see California-grown brussels sprouts in retail stores around July 15th.
A first line of defense against agricultural pests and diseases becomes stronger today, as officials dedicate a new inspection station near Truckee. Located on Interstate 80 near the Nevada border, the station houses inspectors who check incoming vehicles. State officials say the new station will ease local traffic congestion. It will also allow inspectors to better focus on vehicles that present the greatest risks of bringing exotic pests into California.
Two California-based scientists have invented a device that promises to make ethanol production more energy-efficient. The invention combines two procedures used in ethanol production into one device. The two chemical engineers created their "spiral-wound liquid membrane module" while working at a U.S. Agriculture Department facility in Albany. They've applied for a patent for their invention, and ethanol producers have already expressed interest in itTop