May 28, 2008

In Today's Issue:

DiSogra Attends International Fruit and Vegetable Summit in Paris
Hello from Paris, France where I’m participating in the International Fruit and Vegetable Summit, formally known as the International 5 A Day Symposium. This week-long Summit, sponsored by the International Fruit and Vegetable Alliance (IFAVA) and the World Health Organization, focuses on global strategies and approaches to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Last night’s official opening was kicked off by Mariann Fischer Boel, the EU Commissioner of Agriculture, who highlighted her commitment to funding the European School Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program. I’m excited to be here at the Summit with my colleagues from all over the world and I’m looking forward to meetings with European Commission officials. I’ll let you know how things progress in the next Inside United Fresh. “Au revoir” - until next week, Lorelei DiSogra.

What You Need to Know About Complying with COOL
Industry members may now download the Second Edition of United Fresh Produce Association’s white paper detailing the legislative changes recently enacted by the U.S. Congress in passing the 2008 Farm Bill. These changes provide significant improvement to the 2002 country of origin labeling law (COOL), and will be an important part of industry consideration in beginning plans to implement the law.  This White Paper is a must for produce retailers and suppliers alike to implement COOL in an efficient way.  The White Paper is available for free download to United Fresh members, and for a modest fee of $25 to non-members. Please visit the United Fresh Produce Association website to download  and review other educational publications.

June Produce Inspection Course Sells Out, September Training on the Way
The Produce Inspection Program sold out again; this time for the June training in Fredericksburg, VA, just days away.  However, this specialized course on USDA produce inspection procedures and standards will be held again in September.  Members may register for the September course by clicking here or contacting Beth Berman, education manager, at 202-303-3400 ext. 405. 

Prepare Your Company for the Unknown
The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation is holding its next Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire course, August 26-28 in Yakima, Washington. This popular course has already run in Baltimore, MD, San Francisco, CA and Phoenix, AZ. “A product can be recalled for various reasons, including mislabeling, foreign matter, contamination and more, and companies need to know how to reduce their liability and take proper actions in each case,” said Amy Philpott, vice president of communications at United Fresh.  Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire is a multi-part course, including a two-day workshop on how to minimize your liability and prevent a product recall from becoming a crisis.  A half day of media training is offered separately, but the media training course in Yakima is currently sold out and a waiting list is being formed.  For additional registration and housing information, please contact Beth Berman at or 202-303-3405.

Meet Your United Fresh Staff: Hector Ranero
Although from and currently residing in Arlington, Virginia, Hector’s background is Central American; his father is from Guatemala and his mother is from Honduras.  Hector joined United Fresh in exhibitor and convention services when the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association and the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association merged in 2006. Since then, he has had a close working relationship with exhibitors and vendors, ensuring they have any and all the information needed for a successful convention.  Learning about exhibitors and connecting their work with a face or a voice is what Hector enjoys most day-to-day.

However, if you are looking for him after business hours, you may want to try the movie theatre; Hector is “big into movies.” He also enjoys travel and tries to visit his parents once a year in Guatemala; their house is located at the base of two volcanoes in Palin, Escuintla. Next summer, though, he will "take an adventure" to Greece to celebrate his 30th birthday. 

Hector has quite an extension of favorites when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Snow peas and oranges are at the top of his list. But, he also likes eating corn, broccoli, cauliflower and an assortment of berries.  And, this weekend, Hector is planning to try artichokes for the first time. Any suggestions on how to best prepare them are welcome.

Hector 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. 

News & Views
Cultivating Mexico
The Associated Press reports that more American farm companies are moving their fields to Mexico, which brings some resolve to immigration debate.

Conflicted
Growers in the Salinas Valley and other Central Coast areas have reported experiencing economic hardship as they try to preserve food safety and pure foods, shares Visalia Times-Delta.

Withholding Information

According to the Dallas Morning News, a congressional committee is investigating whether some U.S. private companies knowingly permitted the importation of tainted food.
 
Grow-it-yourself
The Chicago Sun-Times says, as pump prices continue to rise so do the sales of vegetable and fruits seeds for gardeners taking on their own food source.

Less Labor
Many farmers have switched from planting high-value fruits and vegetables to subsidized row crops that are less labor intensive, shares the Contra Costa Times.

All in the Numbers
The Orlando Sentinel tells of on native’s collection and crunching of numbers for Florida’s monthly citrus forecast.