March 12, 2009

In Today's Issue:


United Fresh Launches State Grassroots Opposition as Card Check is Reintroduced

Card CheckThe misnamed Employee Free Choice Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Tuesday, after barely failing to pass in 2008.  Standing in opposition to the legislation, United Fresh President Tom Stenzel announced the formation of new Card Check Grassroots Networks in eight key states to organize a base of support for United's efforts to block the legislation.

"While we'll take the fight over card check to every Congressional district, the eventual determination of whether this bill passes likely rests in the hands of just a few key Senators in swing states – states where we believe we need to make a difference," Stenzel said.  United is forming grassroots networks in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Each state grassroots network will bring together companies and individuals from the entire produce supply chain in each state, building not only upon the grower agricultural base that may be present, but calling on all processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, restaurants and allied suppliers in each state.  The grassroots team within each state will be led by a member chairman or co-chairs with a goal of building the widest possible network of individuals to call and write letters to Congress, meet with their Senators in their home state, provide letters and editorials to local newspapers, call on their friends and neighbors to educate them on the danger of card check and generally lead the charge in this highly targeted effort.

For more information, please visit the United Fresh Card Check Resource Center or contact Kam Quarles at kquarles@unitedfresh.org or (202) 303-3427.


United Testifies for 8th Time in Congressional Hearings on Food Safety

Congressional Testimony
United Fresh President Tom Stenzel (left foreground) addresses members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday.

United Fresh President Tom Stenzel testified Wednesday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, as part of a hearing to address reforms in our nation’s food safety laws. The hearing, entitled "How Do We Fix Our Ailing Food Safety System?" also included representatives from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Alliance for a Stronger FDA, National Center for Food Safety and Technology and Chiquita Brands/Fresh Express.

"This was an important opportunity for the produce industry to be heard on what is a critical priority," said Stenzel.  "The decisions made on Capitol Hill in the near future will shape the way the entire fresh produce supply chain does business.  It is imperative that our industry has a strong voice in these deliberations."  Since 2006, United Fresh has testified at eight Congressional hearings regarding federal food safety oversight and legislative reforms to our nation's food safety laws.

In his testimony before the Subcommittee, Stenzel underscored the produce industry's long-time commitment in addressing and improving food safety practices, as well as the overwhelming health benefits of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.  Stenzel also highlighted specific food safety policy recommendations that have broad support across the industry.  Finally, while much of the focus of the hearing centered on preventive controls, Stenzel discussed important recommendations regarding how state and federal governments should manage actual outbreaks when they occur.

Congressional Testimony
Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce including (from left) John Barrow (D-Ga.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) and John Sarbanes (D-Md.)

A full transcript of Stenzel's testimony is available here.


USDA Secretary Vilsack Promotes Healthy Eating for Children and Families

Vilsack
(from left) The Rev. Douglas Greenaway, Executive Director NWA; Agriculture Secretary Vilsack; Sesame Street's Cookie Monster and Broccoli; Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop; and Margaret Saunders, President NWA.

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and his wife Christie joined the National WIC Association (NWA) and Sesame Workshop in announcing a partnership to promote healthy eating to children and their families and encourage them to make healthy habits a part of their daily routines.

The "Healthy Habits for Life" program focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables and encourages kids to "Eat a Rainbow!," stressing the healthful benefits of colorful fruits and vegetables.  The program also reminds kids that "Every Day is an Any Time Food Day!," encouraging children to eat nutritious and delicious vegetables, fruits, and whole grains anytime.

The partnership was announced at the 19th Annual NWA Leadership Conference in Washington this week, where United's Dr. Lorelei DiSogra worked with the 200-plus state and local WIC leaders on implementing the new WIC fruit and vegetable vouchers in coming months.  With New York and Delaware the first states to have launched the program, officials reported that 70% of the new vouchers are being redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables.

For more information on the program, contact United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health, Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.


United Fresh Members, Staff Meet with Atlanta Produce Dealers Association

Atlanta Meeting
United Fresh members Larry Narwold (left) and Charles Hall address Tuesday’s meeting of the Atlanta Produce Dealers Association

Earlier this week, United Fresh members Larry Narwold, national and retail sales manager for the Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., and Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, along with United Fresh's director of membership Miriam Miller, addressed members of the Atlanta Produce Dealers Association at their monthly luncheon.

Larry and Charles discussed issues affecting the wholesaler and distributor community including food safety, immigration, and the WIC and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Programs, while Miriam shared information on United Fresh's membership benefits and services and the upcoming convention in Las Vegas.

Atlanta Produce Dealers Association President Darrelle Pridgen remarked after the presentation that "United Fresh's roots began serving companies just like us, and they are still the organization has that commitment."

"This presentation was very successful," said Narwold.  "More than 70 representatives of the Atlanta Produce Dealers Association attended the luncheon, and we received positive feedback on United Fresh's work.  We hope that all who attended the luncheon will become involved with United Fresh."

For more information about United Fresh membership, please contact Miriam at 202-303-3400.


Campaign Seeks Investment in Policy Priorities

Capitol BuildingThis week, United Fresh kicked off its annual Campaign to Grow Produce Power in Washington, designed to raise funds for specific policy priorities of United member companies.  The 2009 campaign materials are now in the mail, and will allow companies to invest in one of three core priorities -- preserving the right to a secret ballot by opposing the card check legislation; promoting sound, science-based food safety policy; and helping drive the national effort to create a salad bar in every American school.

"Recent days in the nation's capital give a prime example of why members need to invest in the future of the fresh produce industry," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "The introduction of twin food safety bills in the House and Senate last week, followed by Tuesday's re-introduction of the flawed card-check bill, redoubles the demands on our outreach to Congress.  And, at the same time, we've never been closer to major change in the school lunch program with a real chance to fulfill our goal of 'A Salad Bar in Every School.'  Your investment in the Produce Power Fund can literally return millions of dollars to the fresh produce industry," Stenzel said.

Information on the Produce Power Fund can be found here, and donations can be easily made online or by downloading the donation form and faxing to the attention of Angela Bezon, United Fresh political affairs manager at 202-303-3430.


Address Your Company's Needs in Market Segment Super Sessions!

Capitol BuildingRegardless of where you fit in the supply chain, the upcoming United Fresh convention has a program specifically for you.  Board members of our four Market Segment Boards are hosting individual events focused on issues specific to the Grower-Shipper, Wholesaler-Distributor, Fresh-cut Processor and Retailer-Foodservice segments.  United Fresh Market Segment Boards ensure that every business segment in the supply chain has its own strong voice so that together, we can forge a united voice for us all.  At United Fresh 2009, individual Supply Chain Breakfasts and Super Sessions are your chance to interact with leaders of your business segment in a networking breakfast, customized educational program, and "Town Hall" discussion to share ideas and concerns about challenges impacting your business.  For more information or to register for United Fresh 2009 and the Supply Chain Breakfasts and Super Sessions, log on to www.unitedfreshshows.com.


United Reaches Out to Southeastern Produce Industry

Tampa
United Fresh Membership Director Miriam Miller talks United Fresh 2009 with attendees at the Southern Exposure conference and exhibition this week.

Membership  Director Miriam Miller and Convention Marketing Manager Marinell Saville joined industry members in Tampa this week to participate in the Southeast Produce Council's Southern Exposure conference and exhibition.  "It's always a real pleasure for me to meet face to face with members of our industry," said Miriam.  "Events like Southern Exposure are a wonderful venue for United Fresh to interact with the industry, share our latest resources and get feedback on our work.  I hope I'll see the people we met in Tampa again soon in Las Vegas!"  For more information about convention or membership, please contact Marinell or Miriam.


United Fresh Virtual MarketplaceVirtual Marketplace

United Fresh Virtual Marketplace gives you access to today's leading suppliers and products like never before - visit today to see featured products.

United Fresh 2009 PLA Plastic
Basket Ease
United Fresh 2009 Blueberries
Dave's Specialty Imports, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Upland Cress
Hollandia Produce/Live Gourmet
United Fresh 2009 Treehouse Kids
FreshSense
United Fresh 2009 Silver Mountain Christmas Trees
Silver Mountain Christmas Trees
United Fresh 2009 Standard/Custom Pro-Tape®
Alliance Rubber Company
United Fresh 2009 Snake Gourd
Val Verde Vegetable Co., Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Half Bin
Polymer Logistics

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


New 2009 Chairman's Roundtable Supporters

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
  • Bonipak Produce Company, Santa Maria, Calif.
  • DiMare Fresh, Ruskin, Fla.
  • The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

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.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Eden Valley Growers, Inc., Eden, N.Y.
  • Gemcon Food and Agriculture Products Ltd., Dhanmondi, Bangladesh
  • Haliburton Interational Corp., Ontario, Calif.
  • InterCrate Container Group, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Le Best Banana Supply Co. International, Hildalgo, Texas
  • Pellerito Foods, Detroit, Mich.
  • Videojet Technologies, Duluth, Ga.
Welcome
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 United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events


News & Views

U.S. NEWS:

News and Views

FDA seeks rapid test for salmonella

National Guard troops study agriculture at Kansas State

Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Secret Ballot Protection Act

Nevada WIC program may help many families stretch their food budgets

Cheers, fears over E-Verify immigration program

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

In Australia, is fast fruit the next food fad?

Saigon to announce safe food companies

Governments in China urged to thoroughly enforce food safety law

U.K. potato farmers told to plan ahead in light of new pesticide restrictions

Cohesion Policy backs 'green economy' for growth and long-term jobs in Europe


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