April 30, 2008

In Today's Issue:

Lovelace To Oversee United Fresh 2008 Board
Following the upcoming May 3 Board meeting, Tom Lovelace, executive vice president, McEntire Produce, Columbia, SC, will take the position of Chairman of the United Fresh Board, overseeing a group of new officers and directors to serve on the United Fresh Produce Association Board of Directors.  Lovelace previously served as Chairman-elect on the Board.  Jim Lemke, Senior Vice President, C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN, has been nominated as the new Chairman-elect. Michael Cavallero, President, North America Tropical Fresh Fruit of Dole Food Company, has been nominated as Secretary/Treasurer.  Current Chairman of the Board, Emanuel Lazopoulos, Senior Vice President, N.A. Sales & Product Management for Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A, will move into the office of Immediate Past Chairman, serving on both the Board and the Executive Committee.  In addition, the following industry leaders have been nominated to serve on the Board for a two-year term, beginning May 2008: Mike Celani, Pac Produce; Tony DiMare, DiMare Company; Roger Harkrider, H-E-B; Brent Harrison, Al Harrison Co. Distributors; Michael Martin, Rio Queen, Inc.; Phillip Muir, Muir Copper Canyon Farms; Mark Murai, California Strawberry Commission; Doug Riley, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Geoff White, Safeway, Inc.  The Board will also include the Chairman and Vice Chairman for each of the four new market-segment boards and the Chairman of each of the four councils.   

United Fresh Announces New Volunteer Leadership Structure
United Fresh will implement a new organizational structure for its volunteer leadership.  The new structure will consist of four horizontal boards representing different market segments of the produce supply chain: Grower-Shipper, Wholesale-Distributor, Fresh-cut Processor and Retail-Foodservice.  Associate member suppliers and allied association members that work closely with one market segment or another will also be permitted to serve on each board.  The chairman and vice chairman of each of these market segment boards will also serve on the overall consolidated Board of Directors, ensuring direct representation of each market segment’s needs in all Board considerations.  Members of each market segment board will be nominated by the association’s Nominating Committee, and will be formally elected by the membership to serve two-year terms. 

In addition, United Fresh will operate four Advisory Councils: the current Government Relations Council, Food Safety & Technology Council, and Global Advisory Council, and the new Transportation & Logistics Council.  The chairman of each advisory council will serve on the consolidated Board of Directors. “These changes will reinforce for the entire industry United Fresh’s unique role in bringing together the total produce supply chain,” said Current Chairman of the Board Emanuel Lazopoulos, Senior Vice President, N.A. Sales & Product Management for Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A..

The following industry leaders have been nominated to serve as the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the new Supply Chain Boards, beginning May 2008:

Grower-Shipper Board:

  • Al Vangelos, Chairman
    Sun World International, LLC, Bakersfield, CA
  • Fred Williamson, Vice Chairman
    Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, CA

 Fresh-Cut Processor Board

  • Steffanie Smith, Chairman
    River Point Farms, LLC, Hermiston, OR
  • Ron Midyett, Vice Chairman
    Apio, Inc., Guadalupe, CA

Wholesale-Distributor Board

  • Matthew D’Arrigo, Chairman
    D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York, Bronx, NY
  • Brendan Comito, Vice Chairman
    Capital City Fruit Company, Inc., Norwalk, IA

Retail-Foodservice Board

  • Reggie Griffin, Chairman
    The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, OH
  • Mitch Smith, Vice Chairman
    McDonald’s Corporation, Nampa, ID

The following industry leaders have been nominated to serve as the Chairmen of the United Fresh Councils, beginning May 2008:

Global Advisory Council

  • David Barney, Chairman
    Bakkavor, Peterborough, UK

Government Relations Council

  • Mike Wootton, Chairman
    Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, CA

Transportation & Logistics Council

  • David Dever, Chairman
    Pandol Bros., Inc., Delano, CA

Food Safety & Technology Council

  • Barry Eisenberg Ph.D., Chairman
    River Ranch Fresh Foods, LLC, Salinas, CA

United Fresh Comments on Supplemental Social Security No-Match Rule

This week, United Fresh submitted comments on the Department of Homeland Security’s “Supplemental Proposed Rule” for the No-Match Rule.  In addition to our own comments, United Fresh also submitted comments through several coalitions, including the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR) and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC).  “This regulation will have a significant financial impact on our businesses, both large and small,” said Autumn Veazey, director of legislative affairs and associate counsel at United Fresh.  “It was important for us to submit comments not solely as a coalition partner, but also as an individual organization. This will help DHS understand the uniqueness of our industry, particularly how our industry is impacted in a way that others may not be.”  The initial No-Match Rule, published and scheduled to take effect on September 14, 2007, has been delayed by litigation led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Roofing Contractors Association, American Nursery and Landscape Association and United Fresh.  As a result of the lawsuit last fall, implementation of the rule has been delayed until DHS addresses the legal concerns noted by the court. The Court will determine if the final supplemental rule is sufficient to comply with the Court’s order.  If the Court decides that the Supplemental Final Rule is sufficient, then the Court could lift the temporary injunction against DHS and SSA and allow the Agencies to begin implementing the No-Match regulation.  For additional information regarding the SSA and DHS's policy regarding no-match letters, visit the SSA website. In addition, you can visit the United Fresh No-Match Immigration Resource Center for a copy of the new proposed rule and additional information about this important issue. For more information, please contact Autumn, 202-303-3409.

Strike it Rich in Vegas AND Support the Produce Industry
Next week United Fresh members will be taking on the city of Las Vegas in more ways than one! During the May 4-7 United Fresh show in Las Vegas, on Sunday, May 4th at 8:00 pm, immediately following the Viva Las Vegas! Opening Party, the United Fresh Political Action Committee, United FreshPAC, will host - Striking it Rich in Vegas.  This exciting event will be held at the famous Las Vegas Lucky Strike Lanes in the Rio Hotel and Casino. For just a $100, enjoy a fully catered event including a premium open bar, bowling, and the opportunity to shoot pool or warm up your gaming skills at our exclusive gambling tables. We will also raffle off various prizes throughout the evening. There will be something fun for everyone - you don’t have to be an avid bowler. Come for the fun. Come for the friends. Come for the food, but most of all, come to support United FreshPAC – our way of supporting Members of Congress who address the needs of the fresh produce industry!  For those interested in registering, please call Angela Bezon at 202-303-3416, sign up online, or complete and fax this registration form to 202-303-3430. See you May 4th!

If You Receive, Handle, Buy, Ship or Sell Produce – This Course is for You
After selling out in January, this unique Produce Inspection Training Program
returns with its June and September offerings.  United Fresh Research & Education Foundation’s, in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Services provides two specialized courses that offer a comprehensive overview of USDA inspection procedures and standards through lab training courses, classroom lectures and discussion sessions with USDA trainers.  Members may now register for the training program by clicking below or contacting Beth Berman,
education manager, 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

June 2-3, 2008
June 4-6, 2008

Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)

September 22-23, 2008
September 24-26, 2008

Introduction to Produce Inspection (2 days)
Advanced Produce Inspection Training (3 days)

Click here for Produce Inspection flyer and downloadable registration form.

Click here to register for the June or September courses.

DiSogra Speaks at Policy Leadership Conference
On Tuesday, Dr. Lorelei DiSogra addressed a group of cooperative extension leaders from all over the country at their annual Policy Issues Leadership Development Conference in Rosslyn, VA.  In her presentation, “Translating How Nutrition Policy Affects the Way We Eat,” Lorelei emphasized that shaping nutrition policy can significantly improve eating habits and public health. “There was tremendous interest among the attendees in what they can do in their states to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and how they could become actively involved in working with WIC to maximize implementation of the new food packages that include fruits and vegetable,” said Lorelei.  There was also a buzz of excitement about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program.  Attendees from Pennsylvania and Ohio even shared with the group how this program had improved children’s eating habits. As a follow-up, Lorelei will schedule a partnership meeting with the National WIC to bring these groups together. For more information contact Lorelei, 202-303-3403. 

Meet Your United Fresh Staff: Claudia Wenzing
Twelve-year veteran of the produce industry Claudia Wenzing starts her first week as vice president of business development at United Fresh.  Claudia will serve the needs of both the association and the United Fresh Research and Education Foundation, helping member companies by developing programs and linkages that boost overall produce sales and profitability, while servicing the consuming public.  “I am extremely excited about this new career chapter and finding new avenues in which to give back to the produce industry,” says Claudia of her new position.  She finds understanding the challenges and issues industry members are facing extremely important.  Being the “new kid on the block at United Fresh,” she says she is “learning each day about the United Fresh membership.  I can’t wait to see everyone in Las Vegas next week.”  Claudia hits the ground running at this year’s annual United Fresh 2008 convention in Las Vegas, May 4-7.

Currently, Claudia lives in Delaware, but hopes to move closer to the D.C. Metro Area, as she loves visiting her former stomping ground of Maryland to spend time with her two daughters and their husbands, as well as close friends.  Claudia finds becoming a grandmother an amazing gift.  Her grandson, Preston, was born in March of this year and a second grandchild is expected in September.  Although Claudia also loves those crabs the state is known for, she cannot think of a single fruit or vegetable she dislikes.  In fact, she has even been known to celebrate “banana day” (no green, no brown). In Claudia’s spare time she remains active spiritually and physically with church activities, Yoga, Pilates and walking, and she is learning how to play the piano.

Claudia is one of many United Fresh staff members working on your behalf every day.  At United Fresh, we are proud to serve our members and the industry. Feel free to contact us anytime at 202-303-3400. 

Milestones Made Toward Whole-Chain Traceability
The joint CPMA, PMA and United Fresh Traceability Initiative Steering Committee recently reached consensus on the critical milestones needed to accomplish whole-chain traceability for the produce industry.  In a press release today, the three associations summarized key elements and milestones for implementing produce GTINs as developed by the committee thus far and for consideration by the association boards.  Both human-readable and bar-coded data elements are being recommended by the committee. A new committee subgroup has been appointed to work on standardizing the format and size of case labels that should be used to display the barcode and corresponding human-readable data.  The steering committee will meet next on June 12 in Chicago to identify timelines for implementation of each of the milestones. The committee consists of over 40 leading companies from across the produce supply chain and is chaired by Cathy Green, chief operating officer of Food Lion. Outreach to the broader industry will take place during the education programming at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and United Fresh conventions next week in Las Vegas, Nev. “Now that there is industry consensus on what needs to be done, the three sponsoring produce associations will also take on greater outreach to other fresh food trade associations to ensure compatibility and alignment,” Green said. “We want to make sure that this process will not cause unnecessary work for both the buying and selling community, whether sold in retail or foodservice, or required from suppliers in various fresh food sectors.”

New Member Welcome
Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:
  • Cybreze Enterprises, LLC, Vero Beach, FL
  • Fresh Connect, Chicago, IL
  • Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, VA
  • Nova Produce, LP, Bonita Springs, FL
United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you.  For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman.

News & Views
Hawaiian Microchips
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture will rollout a three-year pilot project to track and trace tomatoes and other produce using radio frequency identification technology, says the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.net.

Best Healthy Food Blogs
Former U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Ellen Haas today announced her choices for the 10 best healthy food blogs, shared The HealthCentral Network.

Global Food Crisis
In a five-part series from Sunday, May 27 - Thursday, May 1, The Washington Post explores the causes and effects of the world's worst food crisis since the 1970s. Tomorrow’s final story in the series looks at how American consumers in almost every income bracket are looking to save by altering where and how they buy food.

Safer Food Bill
Representative Jim Costa’s bill would require imported foods to meet U.S. safety standards, reports The Fresno Bee.

Pick Your Price
News 8 Austin shows local farmers experiencing growth all over the country, as a result of people picking their own fruits and vegetables.


The crackdown on the services illegal immigrants can receive in Prince William County is drive some immigrants, regardless of status, to enroll their children in other counties, explains the Washington Post.

Produce Prices
Simply put, good fruits and vegetables can be found at affordable prices if you know where to shop, suggests Daily News, Brooklyn. 

From Mexico
According to the Associated Press, the United Farm Workers are tired of waiting on the nation’s immigrations laws and hope to recruit Mexican laborers to temporarily pick crops.