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IPM Labeling: The Latest Developments

Interest in IPM labeling is growing rapidly. Here is a sampling of the latest developments. Sysco and Village Farms, both of which have operations in several states, have asked the New York State IPM Program for assistance in developing a national IPM label. Eden Valley Growers Coop obtained the license for an IPM label on its New York-grown sweet corn, and the New York Berry Growers Association marketed IPM-labeled berries from 51 New York farms in 1997. Comstock Michigan Fruit has produced IPM-grown asparagus in Michigan for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. and will put an IPM label on its own brands of beets and sauerkraut soon. It has also begun working with Illinois growers to produce IPM-labeled popcorn. Wegmans now sells IPM-labeled fresh-market sweet corn in its Corning, Geneva, Ithaca, and Syracuse stores in addition to its Rochester ones. Wegmans has also added IPM-labeled beets and beans to its shelves of canned vegetables.

Elements of IPM, the lists of methods to be used by growers who supply IPM-labeled produce, are now available for 13 crops in New York: fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet cherries, sweet corn, and greenhouse-grown tomatoes; processed beets, cabbage, carrots, peas, snap beans, and sweet corn; and dry beans.

Elements for processing tomatoes are available from the Pennsylvania State University IPM Program (call Dr. Ed Rajotte, state IPM coordinator, at 814/863-4641). Asparagus elements are available from Michigan State University (call Dr. Charles Edson, state IPM coordinator, at 517/355-0117), and elements for processed vegetables grown in Wisconsin can be obtained from the University of Wisconsin (call Mr. Bryan Jensen, state IPM coordinator, at 608/263-4073). In each case, the elements were formulated jointly by growers, food industry representatives, and land grant university faculty and staff who are knowledgeable about IPM.

All of the land grant universities mentioned above plus Rutgers University have been involved cooperatively in the IPM labeling effort because of food industry requests. The elements for all of the crops listed above were formulated in response to these requests. In addition, Michael Fitzner, of the USDA, has played a coordinating role among the various land grant universities and has been involved in the conversations about IPM labeling with Sysco and Village Farms. Dr. Fitzner is the national program leader for IPM.

Labeling programs in other states that are similar to the IPM labeling effort in New York include Partners with Nature (Massachusetts), Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, Responsible Choice Stemilt Growers' Coop (Washington), and CORE Values Northeast Macintosh Growers in partnership with Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet (northeastern apple growers).

Written by Margaret Haining Cowles, IPM Program, Cornell University.