Northwest food processors have a full plate

Northwest food processors have a full plate

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by KGW business reporter Joe Smith

Bio | Email | Follow: @JoeSmithKGW

kgw.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 3:22 PM

PORTLAND -- If what you eat comes in a can, a bag or a box, chances are it came from one of the hundreds of Northwest food processors in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Vendors, farmers, entrepreneurs and anyone involved in the food industry is visiting the Oregon Convention Center this week to check out the newest technology and energy-saving equipment at the NW Food Processors EXPO and Conference.

They are also learning about new U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations that could be game changers for this $30 billion dollar industry.

"Water seems to be the main issue that the FDA looked at," said Jim Robbins, vice president of quality and safety for Bolthouse Farms.

The FDA wanted farmers to use drinking quality standards for irrigation. The industry fought back saying it would be an expensive setback for farmers.

"We know from our own experience that we've not seen food-borne outbreaks due to irrigation water or spray waters," Robbins said.

The FDA did back down. Another major issue: transportation. Oregon has been the lead in pushing for quicker delivery of goods and refrigeration standards.

The Northwest Food Processors Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

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