Tuesday, March 1, 2016

National Grocers Association Best Bagger Champion Crowned

Candice Lastimado of Metropolitan Markets in Washington State Wins 2016 Best Bagger Championship
Las Vegas, NV – Candice Lastimado of Metropolitan Markets, located in Seattle, WA, defeated 24 other Best Bagger competitors from across the nation to claim a grand prize of $10,000 and the title of the National Grocers Association (NGA) Best Bagger Champion.
Designed to promote supermarket employees and demonstrate a superior core customer service skill, the nationwide competition has been held by NGA since 1987. Contestants are judged by speed of bagging, proper bag-building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance, and are chosen through statewide competitions over the course of last year.
This year’s competition was sponsored by PepsiCo, Inc. and emceed for the second consecutive year by Food Network star, Duff Goldman, and held during The NGA Show at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
Bethany Berger of Shaw's Supermarket in Vermont was awarded the second place prize of $5,000, and the third place prize of $1,000 went to Lauren Gillson of Lunds & Byerlys of Minnesota. Fourth and fifth place winners, winning $1,000 each, were Janessa Plummer of Plummer's Shop 'n Save in Maine and Nathan Toth of Martin's Super Markets in Indiana, respectively.
"Year after year, NGA has the pleasure of holding an event that demonstrates the collective spirit and work ethic of the supermarket industry. So often baggers or courtesy clerks are the last impression a customer has of a store, and because of this, superior bagging skills, along with friendly customer service, are critical elements to a positive shopping experience for the consumer,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA.  “I’d like to thank all of our Best Bagger participants for another exciting competition. Congratulations to Candice, who competed with great enthusiasm and showcased her commitment to excellent customer service.”

Corn Growers Applaud Senate Ag Committee Action on GMO Labeling

ST. LOUIS (March 1, 2016) – The National Corn Growers Association today thanked members of the Senate Agriculture Committee who voted to stand with farmers and move forward Sen. Pat Roberts’s bill to address the growing threat of a patchwork of state labeling laws and called for the full Senate to urgently take up this important legislation.

“We find the forward momentum building behind this bill encouraging, and we urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill for the good of America’s farmers and consumers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “U.S. farmers rely on GMOs, a safe, proven technology, to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought. The FDA should remain the party responsible for important food safety and labeling decisions based in science. Despite the scientific evidence, states such as Vermont are quickly moving toward costly, confusing mandatory labeling legislation pushed forth by agenda-driven activists. We ask the Senate to quickly move forward with this legislation to avoid a situation in which all American consumers pay a high price and gain little actual information.”

Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing ingredients that have been genetically modified takes effect in July, and unless Congress acts swiftly, families, farmers and food companies will face chaos in the market and higher costs. Multiple studies have shown that the associated costs with Vermont’s GMO-labeling law and a subsequent patchwork of state laws will cost American families hundreds of dollars more in groceries each year – with low-income Americans being hit the hardest.

Roberts’s proposal brings continuity to the marketplace, ensuring that consumers have the access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven technology valued by American farmers. The bill, which will go through a markup by the Senate Committee on Agriculture next Thursday, will provide a national framework that places standards in the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and creates a campaign that will educate the public on both the safety of GMOs and on the way in which they can find out more about the foods they purchase.

NCGA, working with partners across the value chain, has pushed for a solution to this issue for more than two years now as a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.

For more information on the need for a federal labeling standard, visit the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, at www.CFSAF.org.