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La Unión research & new designs

Alhóndiga La Unión was set up in 1993 to work with employees, suppliers and customers to achieve greater profitability for farmers, providing the consumer with produce that meets the highest food safety standards

Alhóndiga La Unión is a leading company in the Spanish and European sector.

This year, it is carrying out several research projects, such as Biovege and Decidrop, with which it intends to develop and improve the entire agricultural life cycle.

In addition, Alhóndiga La Unión has rolled out phase 2 of the watermelon production line, an investment that will ensure greater efficiency and speed. Around 65% of the firm’s produce is exported to European markets, with Germany, France and Poland the main destinations.

The main export items are: Cucumber, pepper and courgette. The company’s objectives are based on covering all the product varieties demanded by their clients and taking in the entire domestic production cycle.

Alhondiga La Unión is a major company in the European scope, specialising in trading fruit and vegetables, at all times ensuring quality and food safety in its produce. It is important to note that 90% of production is destined to large-scale retail distribution.

Alhóndiga La Unión is committed to food quality and safety as its core message, as director-general Jesus Barranco, explains: “The key to marketing success is the combination of quality vegetables and food safety.”

Moreover, Barranco said  that in terms of brand image they have now begun using new packaging designs, which will gradually be extended through time. Since 2006, the company is certified under the UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard, as well as Global Gap, GRASP, Integrated Production, BRC and IFS.

Alhóndiga La Unión was set up in 1993 to work with employees, suppliers and customers to achieve greater profitability for farmers, providing the consumer with produce that meets the highest food safety standards. The product range includes cucumber, pepper, tomato, courgette, aubergine, beans, watermelon and melons.

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Time to use wasps and gall midges for aphid control in cucumber

Whether they are used in a preventive or a curative approach, parasitic wasps and gall midges are the cornerstone of a reliable aphid control strategy.

Whether they are used in a preventive or a curative approach, parasitic wasps and gall midges are the cornerstone of a reliable aphid control strategy. For cucumber and gherkin growers, now is the time to act, advises Biobest.

Due to the nice weather, spring has awakened rapidly this year. It is also time of the season for aphids, which are now starting to invade greenhouses in Western Europe, it said in a press release.

For cucumber growers, aphids are among the most problematic pests. With a new cultivation period starting soon, Biobest strongly advises taking action now.

Biological control of aphids rests mostly on the introduction of parasitic wasps and gall midges. The female insects look actively for aphid hot spots to lay their eggs. When these eggs hatch, the larvae devour the aphids, it said.

How can growers know which beneficial they should introduce and when? “It depends on whether the grower knows exactly which species are present in his crops,” said Wesley Akkermans, sustainable crop management specialist at Biobest.

Cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii)

“If he has only spotted small aphids, like the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) and the cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii), he can rely on two parasitic wasps as part of a curative strategy: Aphidius colemani, complemented with Aphidius matricariae. However small, these aphid species are notorious for their rapid distribution.”

For bigger species, like the glasshouse potato aphid (Aulacorthum solani) and the potato aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae), Akkermans advises the use of Aphidius ervi and Aphelinus abdominalis. “The parasitic wasps are always introduced as mummies. These need to be put on damp, shady spots between the crops to guarantee the best result, preferably close to an aphid hot spot”

If growers don’t know which aphid species are present, or if they want to maintain a thorough preventive strategy, they can opt for Biobest’s Aphi-Mix-System. This is a mixture of the four above-mentioned Aphidius species in the same package.

Last but not least, the parasitic gall midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza is a strong complementary weapon against aphids. In contrast to the parasitic wasps, the gall midge isn’t very choosy regarding its diet. “Its progeny eats literally every aphid species,” Akkermans said. “Moreover, thanks to the large cucumber leaves, the larvae have an excellent mobility. Only a few larvae per leaf is already enough to destroy a complete aphid population.”

Because of this complementarity Akkermans strongly recommends to apply the gall midges in combination with the parasitic wasps.

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Salmonella outbreak in US linked to Mexican cucumbers

According to a information from the CDC, since July 3,285 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona, with 53 ill people hospitalized and one death reported from California.More than half of the ill people are children.

A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections is being investigated in the United States by authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .

According to a information from the CDC, since July 3,285 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona, with 53 ill people hospitalized and one death reported from California.More than half of the ill people are children.

“Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak,” the CDC said. More than 70% of 80 people interviewed had reported eating cucumbers in the week before their illness began.

On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The type of cucumber is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green in color. Typical length is 7 to 10 inches.

The CDC said its investigation is ongoing. Its full statement can be read here.