From food safety to pesticide use to water availability, the California Almond industry is faced more and more with technical and regulatory issues that are significant to the sustainability of our businesses. Under the Marketing Order, the Almond Board of California (ABC) and its committees cannot lobby these issues, but we can be mindful and alert to those that may affect growers, handlers and processors.

This is the function of the ABC’s new Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee (TRAC), which replaces the Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee. TRAC has expanded responsibilities to provide support to other ABC committees by keeping track of production concerns, environmental rules and regulations, and global market access issues.

Regulatory concerns affecting growers have become a significant part of our agenda. MRLs (maximum residue limits) of pesticides, for instance, are becoming increasingly significant, and, while not yet completely codified, may soon result in additional restrictions on pesticide use.

Europe and many Asian markets are introducing new requirements for fumigation, import documentation and micro specifications. And here at home, we all await news of the pending regulations for the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which is due to be released at any time by the Food and Drug Administration. FSMA is anticipated to have far-reaching requirements for growers, handlers, huller/shellers, truckers and others.

TRAC will continue to monitor world and domestic agendas that affect our industry to keep California Almonds the Nut of Choice among consumers and the Crop of Choice for growers.

Martin Pohl, Chairman
Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee