April 2, 2009

In Today's Issue:

United Fresh Members Testify at Congressional Food Safety Hearing

Capitol HillUnited Fresh Board Member Tony DiMare, Vice President of DiMare Company and Supply Chain Logistics & Technology Council Chairman David Dever, CEO and President of Pandol Brothers will testify today before the House Agriculture Committee regarding current food safety systems. As part of the hearing, the Committee looks to explore how companies address food safety within their own operations, both domestically and with imports.

"While policy makers continue to mull over how to address food safety, we are extremely pleased that Congress has continued to reach out to United Fresh and our industry members with regards to shaping food safety policy that will impact the fresh produce industry," said Robert Guenther senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh.

Dever and DiMare will be joined at the hearing by food industry colleagues from SUPERVALU and beef production company JBS. In addition, the hearing will include former USDA and FDA officials including Dr. Elsa Murano, Michael Taylor and Carol Tucker-Foreman.

"It is critical that we continue to use every opportunity to connect with the policy stakeholders regarding produce food safety and how we believe Congress can best handle hot-button issue," said Guenther.

The hearing can be viewed live starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern here. For more information about United Fresh's food safety policies, please visit our www.unitedfresh.org or contact Robert at 202-303-3400.

Congress Pushes Cuts in Market Access Program Funding, United Fresh Sharply Opposes

Budget CutsLast week, the Senate Budget Committee recommended a 20% reduction in funding for the Market Access Program (MAP), which currently receives $200 million annually, down from the $300 million it received annually in the mid-1980s. The program provides USDA funding to support and promote U.S. agricultural products in current and potential export markets. Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh released the following statement on Friday:

"Let me be clear, the fresh produce industry and our members have strongly supported the Market Access Program for over 20 years. The recommendations by the Administration and the Senate Budget Committee for MAP are clearly misguided in our overall agenda of expanding export opportunities. In fact, it is striking that at a time where we see a weakened economy in many sectors of business including agriculture and certain fresh produce commodities are currently facing targeted trade restrictions, the Senate Budget Committee would make such a counterproductive policy decision, disarming the fresh produce industry by taking away one of its most important export tools. Finally, we have heard cries from many both on and off Capitol Hill about not moving away from our Farm Bill commitments – it is time to live up to these commitments for the Market Access Program as well."

For more on United's policy efforts, visit www.unitedfresh.org.

United Fresh West Coast Swing Includes Face Time with Members

Who says you have to be in the office to get work done? United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel, along with Jeff Oberman, United's vice president of membership have been busy all week in the Golden State interacting with California members and answering questions and concerns.

On Tuesday, more than 70 United Fresh and industry members at a town hall meeting in Visalia, Calif. Co-hosted by the California Grape & Tree Fruit League and California Citrus Mutual, the event featured a discussion of key issues facing the produce industry, including card-check legislation, immigration reform, whole-chain traceability, food safety legislation and regulation and new business opportunities available through the WIC and Fresh Fruit & Vegetable School Snack programs.

Town Hall
Stenzel addresses attendees at Tuesday's United Fresh town hall meeting in Visalia, Calif.

"This event provided a unique opportunity for United Fresh staff, members from all sectors of the supply chain, federal officials, state officials and allied industry professionals to come together at the local level and discuss the current business, legislative, food safety, and regulatory issues impacting the produce industry in California, and also nationally and globally," said Stenzel. Stenzel added that "the input we received was valuable and showcased how issues such as the Produce Traceability Initiative are of tremendous importance to the industry here in California. There was great interest from Town Hall attendees in the Traceability Demo Center at the upcoming United Fresh show in Las Vegas."

Next up on the itinerary? Tom and Jeff head to the Fresh Produce and Floral Council's NorCal Expo in Pleasanton before ending the week with meetings in Monterey.

Family Business Workshop Featured at United Fresh 2009

United Fresh 2009There's no business quite like a family business, yet a family business poses some unique challenges. In an effort to continue offering relevant and timely content to its members, United Fresh 2009 will feature Ensuring the Success of Your Family Business: from Day-to-Day Operations to Succession Planning, an extended, 2.5-hour educational session discussing the intricacies of running a family operation.

The featured speaker at the workshop will be Mike Salisbury of Lookout Ridge Consulting. A past President of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants, Mike is also a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the Family Firm Institute where he has earned the Certificate in Family Business Consulting. During the session, he will teach both family members and non-family staff members how to manage many of the specific challenges of a family-owned business.

All United Fresh 2009 workshops and educational sessions are included in the All Access Pass, which can be purchased online here. For more information on United Fresh 2009, click here.

House and Senate Hold Hearings on School Nutrition and Obesity

NutritionAs lawmakers begin to debate policy priorities for the 2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization, the produce industry sees the potential for an increase in the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals. Both the House and the Senate heard from representatives of the food and beverage, academic and medical communities last week during hearings to address school nutrition and its potential role in childhood obesity.

During last week's House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee Hearing on Obesity, Dr. Bill Dietz, director of nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention at the Centers for Disease Control testified that "the percentage of U.S. youth in grades 9 through 12 who reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times per day declined between 1999 and 2007." He noted that inadequate physical activity and inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption may have had a direct impact on the nation’s childhood obesity rate.  On average, America's children eat less than half of the fruits and vegetables recommended daily for good health. 

On the Senate side, the Agriculture Committee's Hearing on Reforming Nutrition for Kids at Schools focused on national nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools.  Health professionals, educators and representatives from the food and beverage industry testified about the need for national nutrition standards and the importance of improving the entire school food environment.

"Updating the nutrition standards for competitive foods would benefit produce. Schools would offer more healthy fresh fruits and vegetables in vending machines and a la carte lines instead of high calorie, less nutritious snack foods," said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health.

For more information on this and all of United's efforts on child nutrition policy, contact Lorelei at 202-303-3400.

Fresh-Cut HACCP Short Course Comes to Georgia

FoundationThe University of Georgia will host a specially-designed training short course for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) May 19-21 in Athens, Ga.  The short course, co-sponsored by United Fresh, is tailored to the fresh-cut industry and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. The program aims to provide attendees with the skills and knowledge to design, implement, document and maintain HACCP within the fresh-cut business model. The program will provide a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts and authorities from academia, industry and government. Breakout work group sessions will provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

As fresh produce moves from the field through the processing plant to the table, three sources of contamination - microbial, chemical and physical - may pose a health hazard. HACCP is a practical, systematic management tool designed to ensure food safety and developed to identify and control any of these hazards from entering the handling process, and to document the safety of fresh-cut produce. At the course, attendees will learn which microbial testing tools to use to document and verify your sanitation program, how to interpret microbial results and which standardized procedures are best for consistent microbial analysis in testing fresh-cut produce.

Registration, which is required for the course, is $550 before April 27 and $600 before the May 8 registration deadline. United Fresh members receive discounted registration. Lodging and meals are not included. A registration brochure can be downloaded here. For more information, call 706-542-2574 or email efs@uga.edu.

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 Products by Mail
Paterson Pickle Company
United Fresh 2009 Clamshell Traceability Initiative
United Fresh 2009 Oranges
Sunkist Growers, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Sliced Yellow Squash
Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Lock n' Pop – Environmentally Friendly Palletizing Adhesive
NNZ, Inc.
United Fresh 2009 Rosso Bruno™ Tomatoes
Dulcinea Farms
United Fresh 2009 Glaze for Strawberries
Naturally Fresh, Inc. .
United Fresh 2009 Bamboo Biodegradable Trays
NNZ, Inc..

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
  • Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, Ore.
  • Pride Pak Canada, Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

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:

  • Europlant, Lunesburg, Germany
  • Prestij, Ltd., Istanbul, Turkey
  • Solsustech Inc., Parker, Ariz.
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


News and Views

Card-check rally featuring Joe the Plumber splits rallygoers

More unions favor legalizing workers

Local produce program takes root in Palo Alto, Calif.

DHHS study: Source of many foods is difficult to trace

PTA, ADA call for removal of junk food from schools


Pakistani fruit exporters may suffer huge financial losses

Recession hits Chilean cherry exports

Vietnam: GM crops to cushion food security

Business Ready to Work on Building the Low-Carbon Economy

India’s fresh produce exports to Southeast Asia may hit $100M

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