August 6, 2008

In Today's Issue:

Last Chance to Register for A FREE Produce Industry Webcast on COOL!
USDA has just published new U.S. Country of Original Labeling (COOL) regulations that go into effect September 30, 2008.  This Friday, August 8 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time, you are invited to join your produce colleagues across the industry in learning about the new rules and what you’ll need to do to comply. USDA and industry speakers will explain the new rules and answer your questions.  This is a free event, but space is limited, so you must pre-register before 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 8.  Pre-register online to receive audio dial-in instructions. Computer log-on instructions will be sent separately to all pre-registered attendees prior to the Webcast.  For more information, contact any of the associations shown above. This webcast is hosted by:

American Mushroom Institute
California Citrus Mutual
California Grape & Tree Fruit League
California Strawberry Commission
Florida Citrus Packers
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
Florida Tomato Exchange
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
Idaho Grower Shipper Association
National Potato Council
National Watermelon Association
Northwest Horticultural Council
Texas Produce Association
U.S. Apple Association
United Fresh Produce Association

More Fruits & Vegetables for Child Nutrition
Today leaders from across the produce industry told USDA how critically important it is to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and to increase the reimbursement rate so schools can serve more healthy fruits and vegetables to students.  Testifying at USDA Child Nutrition Reauthorization Listening Sessions in both Baltimore, Maryland and San Francisco, California, produce industry representatives also advocated for a vegetable and fruit salad bar in every school, funding for refrigeration and salad bar equipment, and significant expansion of purchases of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables through USDA’s Commodity Purchasing Program for schools. 

The 2009 Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs provides a significant opportunity to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals as emphasized in testimony given today by United Fresh’s Vice President of Health and Nutrition Dr. Lorelei DiSogra.  Special thanks to United Fresh members who testified today or at recent Child Nutrition Listening Sessions: Produce industry leaders are still needed to testify at USDA Listening Sessions in Chicago and Denver in early September.  For more information, please contact Lorelei at 202-303-3400 ext. 403.

Urgent Call for Industry Participation in Chicago, Denver USDA Listening Sessions
United Fresh is seeking produce industry leaders to testify at two upcoming USDA Child Nutrition Listening Sessions on September 10 in Chicago, Illinois and on September 11 in Denver, Colorado.  These Listening Sessions are being held as part of an effort to gather input from stakeholders and advocates across the country on recommendations for changes in all child nutrition programs, including school lunch and school breakfast, which will be reauthorized by Congress in 2009. United Fresh strongly urges members to participate in these listening sessions and support policy priorities that will increase the availability and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and other child nutrition programs. Registration is required to testify and the registration deadline is in 2 weeks on August 22. United Fresh will register interested produce industry members and provide sample testimony.  If you are interested in testifying in Chicago or Denver, please contact Andrew Marshall or Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at United Fresh.

Retailers, Produce Suppliers to Learn About COOL Together, Register Now
In order to implement the new country of origin labeling law efficiently and effectively, suppliers and retailers will need to work together.  To ensure that retailer and suppliers both understand the new regulations and work together to discuss the impact on business, American Meat Institute, United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute are holding three joint workshops to explain how to comply with the COOL laws.  Workshops will be held at convenient airport hotel locations on August 12 in Baltimore, Maryland, August 13 in Chicago, Illinois and August 14 in San Jose, California. Attending one of these workshops is the ONLY opportunity for retailers and suppliers to sit side by side to learn about these laws and how to implement them together.  This is the most cost-effective way to be sure you can comply with the new rules, and understand what your supply chain partners will expect.All workshops will feature meat sessions from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon; lunch from 12:00-1:00 p.m.; and produce sessions from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.  The $195 registration cost includes both morning and afternoon sessions, and lunch is included.

New Member Welcome
Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:
  • Hines Nut Company, Dallas, TX
  • nanoAgri Systems, Escondido, CA
  • Pacific Financial Resources in Calabasas, CA
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,

Meet Your Staff, Leslie Howard
Just a few weeks ago, Director of Meetings and Events Leslie Howard celebrated her one year anniversary at United Fresh.  United Fresh is known for its professional events and Leslie is the behind-the-scene person that makes it all run smoothly.  She oversees all of our event logistics, which begin long before any event takes place and doesn’t end until the invoices are reviewed after an event. She is also instrumental in managing the registration and housing functions for the United Fresh show in Las Vegas. Part of her job requires traveling to the meeting and event sites, which is one of the aspects about her job that she enjoys most – that and meeting United Fresh members.

A graduate of Virginia Tech and a native of Northern Virginia, Leslie and her husband live in Fairfax, VA where her family is always close by. When she isn’t working, Leslie enjoys reading, baking, traveling, trying new cooking recipes with her husband and decorating their new home, and spending time with family, especially her new 5-month old nephew. As for her favorite fruits and vegetables, take a look at what she enjoys most: onions, carrots, spinach, plums, nectarines and cherries.

Leslie 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 and Views
Hovering Above Poverty, Grasping for Middle Class
The Washington Post explores how low-wage workers are coping with increasing financial insecurity and rising prices.

USDA Awards $500,000 for WIC Special Project Grants
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer awarded $500,000 in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Special Project Grants to Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Agriculture Commissioner Challenges New Yorkers to "Eat Local"
Channel 2 WCAX news in Albany, New York reports that the new York State Agricultural Commissioner is urging New Yorkers to pick one day to try to only eat foods that are produced or grown in New York State.

Tomato Growers Seeing Red
The Washington Post reports that domestic tomato growers seek financial restitution in the wake of the Salmonella saintpaul outbreak.

Fed Up by Costs, Many Grow It Alone
The Washington Post reports that some people are battling the rising cost of food by resorting to community gardens to grow their own fruits and vegetables.