From the orchard to the supermarket shelf, there are numerous regulatory challenges that the almond industry will face in the next year, both in the U.S. and around the world. This year, Almond Board of California (ABC) will continue to monitor these issues, including international, federal, state and local issues that affect California Almonds.
Budget woes have plagued public agencies in the U.S. As a result, there is an increase in fee-based systems for inspections and certifications, and regulations for FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act are yet to be published. California’s cap-and-trade program will be implemented this year, resulting in enforceable greenhouse gas cap for many industries. Allowances or tradeable permits, equal to the emission allowed under the cap, will be distributed by California Air Resources Board.
The focus will continue to be on inconsistent standards across the multitude of export markets that impact 70% of California Almond shipments. Uninterrupted access to export markets is key to California’s success as an almond producer.
Particularly difficult for growers and handlers are inconsistent Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides in some of California’s most important markets. Harmonizing standards where possible or deferral to international standards would significantly benefit the almond industry, and will be central to ABC’s discussions with regulators.