is now the world's leading INDUSTRY trade magazine in the tea and coffee industries. STiR Tea & Coffee Industry Bi-Monthly is born out of the tea & coffee industry’s demand for a quality international magazine that takes its concerns to heart with a professional outlook and reporting edge. Built upon the success of the well-known and accepted Tea & Coffee Asia, which was launched in June 1999, STiR keeps the world’s coffee and tea businesses on top of the latest trends, abreast of the most recent technology, and one step ahead of growing competition. The major focus of STiR Tea & Coffee Industry Bi-Monthly is the concerns of coffee roasters and tea packers, tea leaf and coffee bean importers and exporters, and tea and coffee growers and plantations. Readers will learn what manufacturing processes are being used, the latest packaging techniques, types of coffee and tea which countries/companies are leading the way, and all the latest on the equipment, machinery, supplies and services required to bring tea & coffee products to the marketplace. Another major focus of the magazine is on coffee shops, tea shops, hotels, espresso bars, and cafes and what they need to set up their tea and coffee service business and how to improve that business. In every issue you can expect to learn who is serving the latest coffee and tea brands, what flavors are popular, and what equipment they are using, as well as merchandising and trade innovations.
Q: NCA is known for its advocacy on behalf of the coffee industry. Name the top three challenges facing the American coffee industry from regulatory, court or Congressional actions. Prioritize these from the vantage of your membership and describe by what means NCA is addressing these threats/opportunities.
A: From the U.S. perspective, coffee is largely an imported agricultural commodity. For this reason today's biggest challenge comes from legislative reworking of the U.S. food safety system, specifically the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The NCA has made this a top priority, and we're working to protect the interests of everyone, from growers exporting to the U.S., the world's largest market for coffee, to anyone in the supply chain who helps brings coffee to consumers.
The Food Safety Modernization Act stands to upend years of careful planning and execution of time-tested food safety plans by giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to issue mandatory recalls of foods and by making importers liable for the safety of the foods that pass through their control.
All companies that pack, receive or hold foods are made presumptively liable for risks for which they should have been aware. Regulations to implement the law have been dribbling out of Washington, and the NCA has submitted industry comments to the FDA.
Another major challenge is legal action in California against the coffee industry. The state’s Proposition 65, originally a water safety voter referendum, requires disclosure of the presence of a list of nearly 1,000 chemical substances, natural or added.
One of those substances, acrylamide, is formed routinely in the cooking of common foods, including bread, crackers, potato chips and, to a lesser extent, in coffee. Coffee companies have found themselves in the crosshairs as targets of litigation brought by private plaintiffs, to whom the law grants standing to supplement limited state resources to protect the public interest. Instead, plaintiffs have used this provision to reap disproportionate percentages of judgments and settlements in what has become virtually a cottage industry. The NCA helped orchestrate a joint defense group, and continues to provide technical and scientific knowledge for the defense.
A very recent challenge is a noticeable increase in agricultural inspections of green coffee shipments at some U.S. ports. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) department has been requiring costly inspections of imported green coffee shipments for the Coffee Berry Borer beetle, the Mediterranean fruit fly and the coffee rust fungus, none of which can be present in green coffee. The NCA successfully reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) division in charge of agricultural inspections, the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which is now revising the manual issued to CBP authorities to clarify regulations that were being misinterpreted and misapplied.
A: I've spent 30 years as a trade association professional, and can tell you from personal experience that one of the keys to success in this field is working with partners with whom you share common interests. The key is approaching all partners with respect, by listening carefully to others, and acknowledging different points of view. The NCA is in the unique position of not only being able to partner - by listening to, joining with, and supporting our allies - but, when appropriate, by leading in a variety of ways.
For example, at our Annual Conference in New Orleans this year we provided a formal platform for a number of groups to discuss the issues we are all facing with respect to achieving sustainability throughout the supply chain. We heard from certifiers, NGOs, coffee companies and cross-industry partnership organizations about their work to foster development and support socioeconomic change. Solutions start with ideas and dialogue. The NCA provided a forum for dialogue and networking, and from there ideas and initiatives can more easily spread through - and be tested in - the marketplace of ideas and the market for coffee.
Therefore, one crucial element of our approach is bringing together the industry’s leading thought leaders, experts, innovators and entrepreneurs to address issues up and down the supply chain – a marshalling of disparate talents and resources to foster the well-being of the industry and ensure a sustainable worldwide coffee community.
Engaging in a more structured way, the NCA is part of the official U.S. government delegation to the ICO and primary interface with organizations worldwide including producing nation associations, scientific bodies, U.S. legislative and regulatory agencies, and other food industry trade associations.
More generally, the NCA continues to help create and make available a wide variety of resources so that fact-based decisions can be made to address the issues we all care about – such as an online repository of information, news collection, and coordination and compilation of other industry and member initiatives. A very important example is how the NCA serves as home to the NCA Scientific Advisory Group, an elite group of industry scientists who monitor and study all research on coffee and caffeine, and also deliver technical analysis critical to regulatory and legal matters that hinge on scientific knowledge.
READ MORE IN STIR TEA & COFFEE INDUSTRY BI-MONTHLY. ISSUE 3, 2014 ONLINE MAGAZINE