Saudi-based Almarai owns 15,000 acres of an irrigated valley but what business does a foreign food production company have drawing resources from a US desert?
Four hours east of Los Angeles, in a drought-stricken area of a drought-afflicted state, is a small town called Blythe where alfalfa is king. More than half of the towns 94,000 acres are bushy blue-green fields growing the crop.
Massive industrial storehouses line the southern end of town, packed with thousands upon thousands of stacks of alfalfa bales ready to be fed to dairy cows but not cows in Californias Central Valley or Montanas rangelands.
The storehouses belong to Fondomonte Farms, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia-based company Almarai one of the largest food production companies in the world. The company sells milk, powdered milk and packaged items such as croissants, strudels and cupcakes in supermarkets and corner stores throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and in specialty grocers throughout the US.
Each month, Fondomonte Farms loads the alfalfa on to hulking metal shipping containers destined to arrive 24 days later at a massive port stationed on the Red Sea, just outside King Abdullah City in Saudi Arabia.
For decades, enthusiasts have hoped truffles can follow wines path to success in the state. Charlotte Simmonds joins a search for the delicacy
Staci OToole is lying face down in the dirt. I can smell it! she cries, nose to the roots of a hazelnut tree.
A funky, fungal odor emanates from a shallow hole in the ground of this Sonoma Valley orchard. It hints at a hidden treasure many years in the making: a French Prigord truffle, grown right here in California.
Commonly known as black truffles or even black diamonds, Prigords are one of the worlds most sought-after delicacies, selling for $800 or more per pound. Revered for lending an intoxicating flavor to everything from tagliatelle to sushi, they remain widely adored and shrouded in mystery.
With wild truffles increasingly scarce, scenes of affable farmers trawling the woods with a pot-bellied pig are becoming a rare sight. Most black truffles these days come from farms, where they are hunted by specially trained dogs. Cultivation secrets in this lucrative industry have traditionally been closely guarded, with the market dominated by France, Italy and Spain. But in recent years New World upstarts have been gaining ground: Australia is expected to produce 15 metric tons this year, while New Zealand, South Africa and Chile all have burgeoning industries.
For decades many have pinned their hopes on the Mediterranean climate, robust wine industry and thriving food scene of California as the worlds next truffle hotspot. Now, it appears, such hopes are paying off.
In June, a California groundskeeper will make history by taking business to trial on claims it reduced damage of Roundup
At the age of 46, DeWayne Johnson is not prepared to pass away. With cancer spread through many of his body, medical professionals state he most likely has simply months to live. Now Johnson, a partner and dad of 3 in California , wants to endure enough time to make Monsanto answer for his fate.
On 18 June, Johnson will end up being the very first individual to take the international seed and chemical business to trial on claims that it has actually invested years concealing the cancer-causing risks of its popular Roundup herbicide items– and his case has actually simply gotten a significant increase.
Last week Judge Curtis Karnow released an order clearing the method for jurors to think about not simply clinical proof associated to exactly what triggered Johnson’s cancer, however accusations that Monsanto reduced proof of the dangers of its weed killing items. Karnow ruled that the trial will continue and a jury would be enabled to think about possible compensatory damages.
“The internal correspondence kept in mind by Johnson might support a jury finding that Monsanto has actually long understood the danger that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic … however has actually constantly looked for to affect the clinical literature to avoid its internal issues from reaching the general public sphere and to boost its defenses in items liability actions,” Karnow composed. “Thus there are triable concerns of product truth.”
Johnson’s case , submitted in San Francisco county remarkable court in California, is at the leading edge of a legal battle versus Monsanto. Some 4,000 complainants have actually taken legal action against Monsanto declaring direct exposure to Roundup triggered them, or their enjoyed ones, to establish non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Another case is set up for trial in October, in Monsanto’s house town of St Louis, Missouri.
The claims obstacle Monsanto’s position that its herbicides are shown safe and assert that the business has actually understood about the risks and concealed them from regulators and the general public. The litigants point out a variety of research study studies suggesting that the active component in Monsanto’s herbicides, a chemical called glyphosate, can result in NHL and other disorders. They likewise point out research study revealing glyphosate formulas in its commercial-end items are more harmful than glyphosate alone. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a likely human carcinogen in 2015.
Monsanto “promoted falsified information and assaulted genuine research studies” that exposed risks of its herbicides, and led a “extended project of false information” to persuade federal government firms, farmers and customers that Roundup was safe, inning accordance with Johnson’s claim
“We anticipate exposing how Monsanto concealed the threat of cancer and contaminated the science,” stated Michael Miller, Johnson’s lawyer. “Monsanto does not desire the reality about Roundup and cancer to end up being public.”
Monsanto has actually increasingly rejected the accusations, stating its items are not the reason for cancer. The IARC finding was incorrect, inning accordance with Monsanto, as are research studies discovering glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup to be possibly carcinogenic. Monsanto indicates findings by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulative authorities as backing its defense.