INDUSTRY MOURNS BOB BACKOVICH
NEWARK, Del. — Robert G. Backovich, decorated U.S. Marine and 40-year veteran of Safeway Stores, who retired as the company's vice president of produce and floral in 1993, died on June 30 at the age of 76. An announcement was made by the Produce Marketing Association here, where he held leadership roles throughout his career, including chairman of the board, chairman of PMA's Nutritional Task Force and convention chairman. “Bob Backovich was one of the warmest people one could imagine,” said PMA President Bryan Silbermann. “He was an instinctive leader who spoke his mind and listened with care. He was a pioneer in marketing the nutritional benefits of produce and strongly believed in the power of a well-trained produce department workforce. Our community has lost one of its truly great leaders.”
LARGE WHEAT CROP MAY EASE PRICES
CHICAGO — The U.S. Department of Agriculture last month forecast a winter wheat crop of 1.82 billion bushels — 20% more than last year — and farmers are working to accelerate this year's harvest in order to reap the best price for their crops, Bloomberg financial services reported last week. Wheat Futures have fallen 38% on the Chicago Board of Trade since reaching a record peak of $13.50 per bushel in late February, but are still up 39% compared with last year, at more than $8.30 per bushel.
FDA Widens Salmonella Probe
WASHINGTON — Unable to identify the source of the ongoing salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 1,000 people throughout the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned media outlets that not only tomatoes, but also cilantro, jalapeno peppers and Serrano peppers could also potentially bear responsibility for the outbreak. The agency widened its investigation after the Chicago Board of Health reported that many of the city's salmonella cases were linked to shoppers who had eaten at Mexican restaurants, leading the FDA to suspect other common ingredients in fresh salsa.