June 4, 2008

In Today's Issue:

New Webpage for Updates on Salmonella saintpaul Outbreak
Last night United Fresh issued an update on the current Salmonella saintpaul outbreak. Since then Arizona, Texas and Canada have posted notices on their websites regarding the outbreak.  CDC also updated its notice this afternoon, adding Virginia and Wisconsin to the group of states that are being investigated, but for which no product has been identified.  Links to these notices, as well as to FDA notices and updates, are posted in our Food Safety Resource Center and the new webpage dedicated to providing information about this outbreak. The Center also includes links to Industry Produce Safety Initiatives and general information regarding Salmonella.  We will keep you updated as new information becomes available.  If you have media or communication questions, please contact Amy Philpott, vice president, communications.  If you have technical questions, please contact Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology at United Fresh.

Scholarships Aimed at Family Businesses and Their Employees

United Fresh Produce Association announced this week that it is now accepting applications for the 2008 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program.  The Program awards up to four scholarships for employees of United Fresh member, family-owned businesses to attend United Fresh's Washington Public Policy Conference (WPPC). The four scholarships recipients will receive complimentary airfare, hotel, and registration to attend the WPPC, September 10-12, 2008 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.  The application can be downloaded from United Fresh's website and must be received by July 28, 2008 The Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program was established in 2001 through a generous grant from Frieda's, Inc. by Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins; it is administered through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation.  For more information about the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program, please contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3408,.  For more information about WPPC, or to register, contact United Fresh Government Relations Assistant Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3407.

2007 Family Business Scholarship Winners

Program Assists Members in Understanding Inspection Process
United Fresh and USDA trained dozens of industry members this week on the fundamentals of fresh produce inspection at the June Produce Inspection Training Program.  "Training your employees on the basics of shipping, handling and receiving quality produce helps the supply chain and businesses function more effectively," said Beth Berman, United Fresh education manager.  The sold-out June course attracted attendees from a broad range of companies: ALDI, American Seaway Foods, Apio, Bland Farms, Bonipak Produce Company, Food Lion, Frieda's, Grocers Supply Produce, Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution, Missa Bay, Naturipe Farms, Oceanside Produce, Produce Source Partners, Publix Super Markets, Ralphs, Rosemont Farms Corporation, Save-A-Lot, Silliker, Smith's Marketplace, Taylor Farms Maryland, and Whole Foods Market.  The last training program in 2008 is scheduled for September 22-26. The program is nearly sold-out, so for more information or to register, click here or contact Beth Berman, 202-303-3405.

Town Hall Meetings Head Down Under With Aussie, Kiwi Members
G’day mates! It really is winter down under, where I’m in the midst of a week-long tour with industry members, government officials and international food safety leaders in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian government is the host for my trip, as I’m speaking in Sydney today to an international conference on Issues and Crisis Management in the Food Industry. I’ll be presenting a case study on the 2006 spinach outbreak in the United States, and now it seems also providing a current report on tomato issues back home. Earlier this week, I met with government leaders from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in the nation’s capital of Canberra, as well as leaders of the major horticulture, food and grocery industry organizations. It’s amazing to me the issues we share, whether in food safety or shaping nutrition policy to increase fresh produce consumption. We can really learn a lot from each other. Later today, I’m meeting with the Fresh Salad Producers Forum to talk about fresh-cut issues and how United Fresh can continue to help produce companies grow the convenience and value-added sector of the business. I then travel to Queensland for one more day of industry and government meetings before heading “across the ditch” as they say to Auckland, New Zealand. I’ll write in from there in next week’s Inside United Fresh. Meanwhile, big thanks to United Fresh Board member Robin Poynton and Felicity Robson at One Harvest for coordinating our Australia visits.

We Want YOU!

United Fresh invites members who know the produce industry and its needs to join the United Fresh 2009 Convention Committee. United Fresh 2009, April 22-24, 2009 at the Sands Expo Center and headquarters hotel The Palazzo at The Venetian is dedicated to the principle areas of the fresh supply chain: Produce Innovation, Fresh Meals and Technology Solutions. So our Convention Committee will be key to developing convention strategies that drive innovation and grow produce sales and consumption in the retail, foodservice, and convenience sectors of the food industry. “We are building on the success of this year’s May convention in Las Vegas,” said John Toner, vice president, convention and industry relations.  “With the co-location of FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace the entire produce supply chain will once again be present, and we are looking for committee members who, collectively, can help us understand each and every point along that supply chain.”  Recognizing that produce is more than just a produce department item or a side dish on a menu, United Fresh 2009 will include a NEW Meals Solution Showcase, the Featured Product Center and a NEW award program for innovative products, expanded show floor business suites, education opportunities on and off the show floor, and more.  If you are want to help build the 2009 United Fresh convention, We Want YOU!  Please send your interest to John Toner, 202-303-3424.

30 Countries Participate in Fruit and Vegetable Summit
As I mentioned last week, I participated in the International Fruit and Vegetable Summit in Paris, France.  I spent the week with 300 colleagues from around the world who are engaged in efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in their respective countries and who are committed to global action on this topic. Leaders from Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Japan, Canada and the U.S. welcomed new participants from Israel, Tunisia, and Tanzania. Programs and policies that increase access to fruits and vegetables for children at schools, in worksites and for the disadvantaged were emphasized throughout the conference. European Commission officials spoke about the importance of policy and social action and how they are working to expand funding for the school fruit and vegetable snack program in Europe. In addition to the Summit sessions, I met with EU officials in a series of private meetings on issues ranging from Farm Bill funding for national expansion the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program to targeted subsidies for fruits and vegetables for disadvantaged families (a la WIC). It’s very challenging and rewarding to collaborate with the EU on agricultural policy and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. For more information contact me, Lorelei DiSogra

Lars Hoelgaard is joined by Saida Barnat, Aprifel in France, Robert Pederson, Danish Cancer Society, and Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh Produce Association

Lars Hoelgaard, Deputy Director General for Agriculture, European Commission, Brussels, discussed his commitment to funding the School Fruit Scheme and the EU’s political decision making process and timeline.

New Member Welcome
Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:
  • Cool Curtain Industries, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Montana Vistas, LLC, Kalispell, MT
  • Nelson Farms, Cazenovia, NY
  • Rancho Chaparral Produce, Newport, RI
  • Keystone Potato Products, Hegins, PA
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
Not Your Five-a-Day
According to Reuters, tourists of Madrid get plenty of some foods, but not enough fruits and vegetables, but Spain doesn’t have a problem with its Mediterranean diet.

Farm Workers, Guest Workers and Immigration
In response to labor shortages’ affect on farmers, the Wall Street Journal shares the ongoing struggle to balance immigration and workers, in light of our domestic source of produce.

Accelerating Growth
FOXBusiness announces science discovery at the core of DuPont’s new product innovation.

Beneficial Bacteria
Agricultural Research Service has developed a new food safety treatment, pitting good bacteria against bad to inhibit the growth of pathogens causing food-borne illness in the United States.

Carving Out of Produce
Columbia Star tells how fruit and vegetable carving has come to be one of the new culinary and entertainment trends.

“Miracle Fruit”
The small red berry know as the miracle fruit is native to West Africa and is transforming bitter into sweet food, at the touch of a tongue, reports FOX.

Still Standing
The Daily American shows how one family business can thrive.  Cascio’s Fruit Market has been open for the past 90 years, under the ownership of only two families.