August 20, 2008

In Today's Issue:

Food, Friends and Funny Politics Make for a Perfect Evening
This year’s United FreshPAC event has a different look and feel, and you won’t want to miss it! You will still enjoy one of the best meals in Washington, D.C. at Charlie Palmer Steak House, but you won’t find a better close-up view of the Capitol anywhere else.  You’ll still enjoy an evening with friends, but this year you’ll do it as you take in the view of the Capitol during a special FreshPAC reception and dinner on the restaurant’s rooftop terrace.  As the sun sets behind the Washington Memorial, a live performance from Capitol Steps will top off the evening. As one of the funniest political satire groups in the country, Capitol Steps ensures that no political figure is immune to their humor. Contribute at least $250 per person to the United FreshPAC and join us on Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. for a night of food, friends and funny politics! For more information, call Angela Bezon at 202-303-3416.

Four Industry Members Win a Trip to D.C.; You May Know One of Them
United Fresh members Kenneth Crabtree, Pacific Coast Fruit Co., Portland, Oregon; Gahl Crane, Prime Produce International, LLC, Orange, California; Jose Garcia, Rene Produce, LLC, Nogales, Arizona; and Tracie Levin, M. Levin and Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are gearing up to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the annual United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference (WPPC), September 10-12.  As 2008 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship recipients, these four family business employees will join hundreds of produce leaders to help represent the industry during this important event in the nation's capital. Established in 2001, the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship is made possible through a generous grant from Frieda’s, Inc. to the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation.  The program was founded by Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins to expand opportunities for representatives from family businesses to attend the Washington Public Policy Conference and help make a positive difference for the produce industry.  The Foundation accepts new applications for the program each summer.  Register here to join this year's scholarship recipients and hundreds of other produce industry members at this year’s Washington Public Policy Conference, the largest produce event on Capitol Hill! Call Andrew Marshall today at 202-303-3407 for more information.

"Company Issues Recall"
“Company Issues Recall!” This is usually the headline in the paper, on the web or in the evening news, but the company involved has likely been in a firestorm of health inspectors, record and inventory retrieval and customer questions for at least 24 hours before that.  Is the company staff calm and in control? Do they know what to do and who should do it?  Do they know their company’s legal liability and how to handle the communications with employees, media, customers, consumers and others?  If they have attended one of the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation’s "Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire" courses, then the answers are “Yes.”  Your next chance to learn the skills and knowledge you need in order to handle a product recall effectively and efficiently is October 1-2, 2008 at the next "Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire" course to be held at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, conveniently located by the Los Angeles International Airport. In addition to the two-day product recall course, United Fresh is also offering a half-day of media training on October 3.  Taught by communications and public affairs specialists, this course will teach participants the fundamentals of working with the media and how to deliver messages under the pressure of a real-life interview. Separate registration for the media training is required.  Due to the highly interactive nature of the program, attendance at the Recall Course and media training is limited. Past courses have sold-out, so be sure to register today! For additional registration and housing information, contact United Fresh Education Manager Beth Berman at 202-303-3405.

Food Lion Hosts Convention Committee Co-Chair Meeting
United Fresh Convention Committee Co-chairs Mike Celani, Ready Pac Foods; Phil Muir, Muir Enterprises; Randy Scott, Food Lion, LLC; and Rick Urschel, Urschel Labs met at Food Lion, LLC headquarters in Salisbury, North Carolina this past week to lay the ground work for the coming year’s convention.  Many thanks to Randy Scott and the Food Lion team for hosting this dynamic meeting.  “Our overarching goals for the 2009 trade show and convention are to help companies save money with cost-savings ideas and technologies, see multiple buyers at one setting and develop an industry event that achieves the perfect balance between work and fun,” said John Toner, vice president convention and industry relations.  “We owe it to ourselves and to the fresh produce industry to build the best possible event to save suppliers and customers both time and money.”  For more information about the United Fresh 2009 event please contact John.

FDA Town Hall Meeting Scheduled for September; Register Now
With so many critical issues at stake, United Fresh Produce is hosting a Town Hall meeting for industry members at this year’s Washington Public Policy Conference, held September 10-12, to meet with U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) officials at the FDA’s headquarters.  The Town Hall meeting will allow industry members to talk with top FDA officials to ask questions and hear their views on all key questions regarding produce safety, outbreak investigations, and regulatory issues.  We’ll also discuss ways in which the industry and government can work together better to assure consumer confidence in the abundant array of safe and healthy fresh fruits and vegetables we bring to consumers.  The FDA Town Hall meeting will be held concurrently with Congressional visits on Thursday afternoon, September 11.  Pick your preference when you register today!

New Director Learns the Ropes from Members
Last week, Miriam Miller, United Fresh’s new director of membership, joined Jeff Oberman, vice president of trade relations, in California to meet with several United Fresh members and tour their facilities.  The purpose of the trip was for Miriam to learn fist-hand, from members, about the various aspects of the produce industry.  Miriam and Jeff first visited the Salinas Valley, where they visited River Ranch Fresh Foods, Ocean Mist Farms, and California Giant Berry Farms. Then they met with a number of members in the Central Valley, including WES Pak Sales, Paramount Citrus, Columbine Vineyards, the California Tree Fruit Agreement, and the California Grape & Tree Fruit League.  They finished their week with a visit to Carcione's Fresh Produce Company, Inc. and a tour of the San Francisco Wholesale Market.  “Having the opportunity to visit members and hear their perspectives on the industry was extremely valuable to me,” said Miriam. “Being able to see our members’ operations in action has greatly increased my understanding of the produce supply chain and the challenges and opportunities our members have in today’s market.”
Kori Tuggle, Marketing Manager for Ocean Mist Farms, shows Miriam Ocean Mist's coolers and truck loading area.

New Member Welcome
Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:
  • Johnson & Moncrief, Salinas, CA
  • Texas AgriLife Extension, College Station, TX
  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
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, joberman@unitedfresh.org

News and Views

Australian Immigration Solution to Farm Labour Shortages
In year’s past, Australian fruit and vegetable growers have struggled to find workers to pick their crops. In response, this year, the Australian government has begun a 3 year pilot program that will help solve the problem.

Oriental Fruit Fly Found In Santa Clara County, CA
The Fresno Bee reports that agriculture officials will begin work to eradicate the invasive pest. The Oriental fruit fly feeds on more than 230 kinds of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, avocados, tomatoes, grapes and stone fruits.

Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Anticipate Increase in 2008 Harvest
The Milwaukee Business Journal indicates that Wisconsin will yield 3.85 million barrels of cranberries during the 2008 fall harvest. This year’s crop could be Wisconsin’s second-largest cranberry crop in state history.

New Fruit, Vegetable Peddlers Losing Money
New York 1 News reports that some street vendors selling fruits and vegetables have had trouble turning a profit.  Within the next two years, New York City is set to add approximately 1,000 additional fruit and vegetable stands to help increase the availability of healthy foods in low income areas.

Some Fruit Juices Can Harm Drug Absorption: Study
The Associated Press reports that, according to a Canadian study, grapefruit, orange and apple juices can harm the body's ability to absorb certain medications and make the drugs less effective.