NEWS ROUNDUP

Fresh-Cut Guidelines Updatednternational Fresh-Cut Produce Association here and the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., have co-sponsored the release of "The Fresh-Cut Produce Handling Guidelines," now in its third edition. The publication is geared toward both suppliers and buyers of fresh-cut items and addresses a variety of topics, including ordering, transportation, storing, merchandising

Fresh-Cut Guidelines Updated

nternational Fresh-Cut Produce Association here and the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., have co-sponsored the release of "The Fresh-Cut Produce Handling Guidelines," now in its third edition. The publication is geared toward both suppliers and buyers of fresh-cut items and addresses a variety of topics, including ordering, transportation, storing, merchandising and proper sanitation. The guide also serves as an employee educational tool, and includes checklists for use in training sessions or during supplier audits. The publication is available through the IFPA at (703) 299-6282.

Chiquita to Streamline Staff

CINCINNATI (FNS) -- Chiquita Brands International Inc. here has announced a series of layoffs designed to streamline corporate and staff functions in the United States and Latin America, as well as banana operations in North America and Europe. Up to 200 positions are expected to be eliminated, a move that is expected to result in annual savings of $15 million to $20 million, said company officials. The reductions will be accomplished through both voluntary and involuntary programs.

The company reported disappointing results for the 1999 second quarter, primarily due to weak European banana pricing, a trend that has continued throughout the third quarter. Excluding the charge of $6 million for severance and related costs, results for the third quarter are expected to be within the range of current analysts' estimates. This move comes after seven years of operating under the European Union's banana quota regime.

Broker Stressing Distribution

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- In a move designed to reposition itself in the produce industry, Lucky Strike Brokerage here has expanded its role to cover other aspects of the business. Beginning late last month, the firm changed its name to Lucky Strike Farms, marking a new focus on its distributor/shipper functions, according to company officials.

The new entity will continue to ship its Lucky Strike-brand vegetables, as well as its San Fan See brand of broccoli. The company will also begin developing private-label premium packs and expanded product lines. Officials said Lucky Strike will continue to provide marketing assistance, transportation logistics and consulting services to customers.

Four Seasons Adds Florals

DENVER, Pa. -- Four Seasons Produce, a Mid-Atlantic distributor of conventional and organic produce based here, has expanded its operations to include floral products with the opening of a new 60,000-square-foot distribution center in Far Rockaway, N.Y.

The new floral division will supply supermarkets and other retailers with specialty bouquets and flower arrangements. Other offerings include hand-tied bouquets, automated manufactured bouquets, consumer bunches and bud vases, all accompanied by a full line of merchandising supplies.

The flowers provided through the facility are sourced from growers in Holland, Israel, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

To guarantee that supermarkets receive only fresh flowers, the facility uses a special production/shipping process, whereby the flowers are hydrated in deionized water and assembled in a climate-controlled atmosphere.