February 19, 2009

In Today's Issue:

Salad BarAmong the many infrastructure investments in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Obama this week is one small item that promises big returns for America’s kids and the fresh produce industry.

"One of our top priorities in Congress this year was to secure funding for portable salad bars and refrigeration equipment to help schools serve more fresh fruits and vegetables," said United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra. "It became clear that this type of 'infrastructure' project fit well within the stimulus and we worked with Congressional advocates to seize the opportunity to fund this important investment in healthy school meals.  It's been almost 25 years since we’ve seen any federal funding for schools to purchase equipment, and this new $100 million investment will be magnified many times over in direct health benefits to children and increased produce consumption over the next 25 years."

United will continue its efforts to build support for a National School Salad Bar Policy, giving kids greater access to a variety of fresh, healthy, and great-tasting fruits and vegetables.  For more information, please contact Lorelei at 202-303-3400.

For language in the bill concerning school lunches, please click here.

AppleMultiple food safety auditing programs are the norm for most produce growers, shippers, and processors.  But even retailers and foodservice companies are often confused about what's included in different audits, and which programs they should use with their supply chain partners.

In the first effort to benchmark different audit programs and begin a serious top-to-bottom supply chain dialogue on the potential benefits of harmonization, the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation will host a Global Conference on Produce Food Safety Standards, April 24-25 immediately following the United Fresh convention in Las Vegas.  Attendees will include a wide range of major retail and restaurant chains, fresh-cut processors, and grower shippers, all joining together with government officials, private-sector auditing companies, and standards-setting bodies from around the world.

“This is a crucial opportunity for the industry to tackle the issue of duplicative and conflicting audit programs," said Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology at United Fresh.  "We strongly encourage anyone with responsibility for food safety throughout the produce supply chain to participate in this conference.  We also appreciate the support of our conference co-sponsors Chiquita/Fresh Express and Dole Food Company," he said.

Registration is available online and includes free access to the United FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace expos, including the Food Safety Pavilion, Traceability Demonstration Center, and educational workshops on the show floor.

Retail Produce Managers Award
2008 Retail Produce Manager Award recipients accept their awards during United Fresh 2008

The deadline to nominate store-level retail produce managers for the 2008 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program is just one week away!  Next Friday, February 27 is the deadline to submit nominations for this prestigious award sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, Inc.  Now in its fifth year, the 2009 program will honor 25 retail produce managers, their corporate produce directors and their companies at the United Fresh Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 23 in Las Vegas, Nev.  The award winners and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and admittance to United Fresh 2009– featuring United Fresh Marketplace and United FreshTech,  To attend the awards banquet, purchase the All-Access Pass when you register at www.unitedfreshshows.com.  For more information, please contact Ginny Pugh, 202-303-3413.    

LeadershipThe last day to submit nominations for the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation’s 15th annual Produce Industry Leadership Program is March 2. Interested parties may download a nomination form here. Made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, the program is a special opportunity for United Fresh members to advance their leadership skills and knowledge. United Fresh invites all eligible members to apply.  

The Leadership Program is developed around four fundamental areas: Leadership Development, Business Relationships, Government & Public Affairs and Media & Public Relations. During the year-long program, participants will take part in a series of customized trips including face-to-face meetings with leading industry players, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators through a specially designed curriculum at the University of California at Davis, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington, D.C., and much more. This year's schedule will feature trips to Central/Northern California, Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del., and Culiacan, Mexico. The class will graduate at the 2010 United Fresh convention in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Leadership Program is an exclusive program for United Fresh members, and is the only ongoing, fully paid national leadership program for the produce industry.  Candidates interested in applying for the program can download information and an application form here. For more information, contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

Barcoded FruitIn a collaborative effort earlier this month, United Fresh, along with Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and Produce Marketing Association (PMA), launched ProduceTraceability.Org, a comprehensive online resource to assist in the industry's transition to the recommendations of the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI).

Administered by the three allied associations, the site includes resources and educational tools for those wanting to learn more about the PTI, a list of companies that support the PTI, a bulletin board and Q&A section for industry questions and discussion, a news and events section, a press room containing recent news releases, headshots of spokespersons, contact information and an art gallery.

The site aims to assist in the fulfillment of seven steps developed by a Steering Committee to move the supply chain to chain-wide, electronic traceability by late 2012. Since October 2008, more than 40 companies from throughout the produce supply chain have endorsed the PTI. The plan involves adopting a standardized system of case bar-coding for all produce sold in the United States, in order to allow product to be tracked throughout the distribution chain. The plan will maximize the effectiveness of the industry's current traceability procedures, improve external efficiencies and assist public officials when they need to quickly trace back a product. Intended to enhance overall supply chain traceability in speed and efficiency, a standardized system could significantly improve the industry’s ability to narrow the impact of product recalls. For more on the website, log on to www.producetraceability.org.

PennyIn 1621, Robert Burton coined the phrase "penny wise and pound foolish." In the modern vernacular, the saying comes from the idea that being overly cautious, and pinching pennies now may cost you big bucks in the long run. You've likely heard the phrase, but what does it have to do with the fresh and fresh-cut produce industry?

United Fresh Produce Association is bringing together a convention in just over two months designed for everyone in your company - from your operations staff to sales to accounting.  Put simply – a small investment in your professional and business development now will pay huge dividends in the future. Take a look at some of the ways your team can take advantage of the valuable hands-on education at United Fresh 2009, April 21-24 in Las Vegas, Nev.:

  • Sales/Marketing:  The industry's top retail and foodservice operations will be at Fresh Marketplace looking for the freshest innovations to drive a new generation of consumers.
  • Food Safety/Quality Control:  United Fresh 2009 will feature the industry's only Food Safety Pavilion and the NEW Global Conference on Produce Food Safety Standards that will tackle the critical issues of produce industry audits and harmonization.
  • Operations:  FreshTech is the only produce industry event focused on processing, value-added solutions, new technologies and technical innovations.  New educational Learning Centers will also be available to discuss how to streamline traceability and operations.
  • Human Resources:  Immigration, card check legislations, FDA inspections and other major industry issues will be discussed at educational workshops, general sessions, and on the show floor.  Be sure to join us for Steve Forbes' keynote address!
  • Accounting/CFO:  Find show prices on equipment and get the best overall value with our All Access Convention Pass. Save even more money by registering before March 11.

Now is the time for the produce industry to come together to discuss, learn and gain competitive insights to grow our businesses.  All it takes is one solution to save your company money and United Fresh 2009 has all the solutions you need. Register online at www.unitedfreshshows.com, and we'll see you in Las Vegas!

These are just a select few of the items you'll find in the United Fresh Virtual Marketplace and will be on display at United Fresh 2009, April 21-24 in Las Vegas, Nev.

United Fresh 2009 Bulk Loading Harvesting Aid
Ramsay Highlander, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Sandpiper
Beach Street Farms, LLC
United Fresh 2009 Extra Large Unshelled Pecans
Hines Nut Company
United Fresh 2009 GirControl Plus
Giro Pack, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Display
Watson Trading Company
United Fresh 2009 1114 UD Platter
PDI-Packaging Direct, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Live Gourmet
Hollandia Produce/Live Gourmet
United Fresh 2009 Melons
Colorful Harvest, LLC

Find out more about these and other great products at virtualmarketplace.unitedfresh.org

United Fresh's Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the Chairman's Roundtable in 2009:

Chairman's Roundtable
  • Condies Foods, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of the Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support.

For more information on the Chairman's Roundtable, please contact Director of Membership Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:

  • Fewel Farms, Yakima, Wash.
  • Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Hronis Inc., Delano, Calif.
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 or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400.

Upcoming Events


News and Views

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Three key components to labor legislation

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New York farmers received $5.6M from nutrition program in ‘08

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DEFRA asks UK farmers to lead the way in protecting environment

Thai exporters face more barriers

Scottish scientists create eco-friendly potato

Gambian journalists trained on food safety

Public calls for food safety centers in Guangdong province

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