I saw a bunch of military hardware on a train coming into Eugene this morning; I wonder if this is related??
Maybe they think people won't stand for this.
GENESIS GETTING SQUEEZED BY FEDS
Without a miracle, Genesis Juice Co-op, Eugene's only raw juice company since 1977, will soon close.
Their products do not comply with a new FDA law that prohibits the distribution of juice not treated by pasteurization or another anti-bacterial process.
"War is OK, cigarettes are OK, but raw juice is not OK? Give me a break," says Melissa Druck, worker/owner at Genesis since 1998.
The legislation, the Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Law, requires "very" small businesses to comply with the new anti-bacterial requirements by February 2004.
Until three weeks ago, Genesis thought they had several months to find a solution to their dilemma. It turns out they're too successful to be considered a very small business. They distribute more than 350,000 units per year of juice — ranging from pint to half gallon sizes, and grossed more than $500,000 in one year. They're nine months into this year's production, and say they are operating illegally.
Is pasteurization an option for a company whose slogan reads "Fresh raw juice to bring you life"?
"Raw juice is what we're about. It goes against our mission to do anything else," said worker/owner Claudia Sepp, who has worked with Genesis since 1983. The company has ruled out ultraviolet and other processes that would reduce the nutritional value of the juices.
Their process is simple: They wash carefully selected fruits and vegetables, press them gently to preserve live enzymes and vitamins and bottle and distribute the juice to about 50 stores in the Eugene and Portland areas, in addition to selling directly from their production plant on 3rd Avenue. If Genesis sold the juice directly to the public, the law would not apply, says three-year worker/owner Ben Cutler.
This process does not meet government standards. The workers at Genesis watch the mail for a letter from the state's Department of Agriculture that will demand their immediate closure. The state agency enforces the federal law.
But you wouldn't know the enterprise is doomed judging by the activity in the production plant. Workers walk through with gloves pulled to their elbows, and the juice press continues to hum.
"We still have juice to make, and orders to fill," says Druck.
In a fight keep Genesis afloat, the company is working with local lawyers to find a loophole. "But we're probably going to close," Druck says. "We're a small company. We can't fight the government." — Tara Stubblefield