Every February, two out of every three commercial bee hives in the United States are transported to California for the almond bloom. It’s just the start of an annual food pollinating bee tour. Anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of the bee population kept as livestock crisscross the United States foraging on the blooms of crops that will make eventually their way into our grocery stores and into overseas markets.
California almond growers have reason to worry about access to one of their biggest export markets. The Indian government increased tariffs on U.S. shelled almonds by 20 percent and non-shelled almonds by 17 percent in June. The increased cost is forecasted to cause a five percent drop in U.S. almond exports to India, impacting the 6,800 almond growers in California, who are mostly small to medium-size, family-run enterprises.
Over 70 percent of water consumed globally is poured into crop and livestock production. But the water we need to drink, to grow food, and to produce industrial goods is under stress and becoming scarcer in parts of the world. What kinds of solutions offer better opportunities for managing scarce water resources to ensure we can continue growing enough food?
When it comes to variety meats, the best prices can typically be found in foreign countries where offal is more popular. International trade allows the U.S. meat industry to capitalize on differences in consumer preferences and maximize value.
Cherry blossom, green tea, and red bean are popular flavors in Asia used in a wide variety of snack foods. The core ingredients of some of these snack foods were not native to Asia. But global trade spread access to non-native plants and ingredients, enabling other countries to put their own flavor spin on new products.
Turmeric is the new “it” spice. While things are golden for trade in turmeric, less can be said for U.S.-India trade relations as a whole. Tensions have been heating up over the past few years, culminating in the recent announcement from the White House that India could soon be terminated from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
“Ugly” produce is a local trend serving a niche market. But if it does go global, there are a number of changes that would need to be made to standards at international, national and retailer levels on how we define what food “should” look like.
Ethnic neighborhoods across the United States – from Little Havana in Miami to San Francisco’s Chinatown – allow us to experience elements of a culture and cuisine without needing to break out a passport. Read about how trade brings the best of Italy’s food to residents and tourists in Boston’s North End.
Chicken trade has been a sore spot in bilateral agricultural trade since 2004 when the United States and China banned each other’s poultry products after an outbreak of avian flu. If these long-simmering disputes are resolved in the context of ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, millions of Chinese could again see American chicken feet grace the dim sum buffet at Chinese New Year festivities.
Few Americans associate cheddar cheese with its ancestral home: Cheddar, in Somerset County, Britain. The name Cheddar, originally designating a unique geographic location, evolved into a generic description as the cheese was produced all over the world. And therein lies the heart of a modern trade dispute over “geographical indications,” or GIs for short.