May 7, 2009

In Today's Issue:


United Fresh Announces Opening of Registration for 2009 Washington Public Policy Conference

WPPCUnited Fresh is proud to announce the opening of registration for the 2009 Washington Public Policy Conference, to be held September 9-11 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference is the largest gathering of the produce industry in the nation’s capital.

The gathering offers members a unique look into the inner workings of Washington and allows attendees a chance to discuss pressing policy matters, visit with Obama Administration officials at a private White House briefing, showcase new products and solutions to key lawmakers and their staffs and meet face to face with more than 140 different members of Congress during a three-hour blitz on Capitol Hill.

To register or for more information, log on to www.unitedfresh.org, or contact Angela Bezon, United Fresh Political Affairs Manager at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.


Congressional Food Safety Briefing Held this Week

Sustainability

On Monday, United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel participated in a congressional briefing on the need for Congress to examine our nation's food safety laws.  The briefing was hosted by Congressman Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), co-authors of the Safe Food Enforcement, Assessment, Standards and Targeting Act of 2009, or Safe FEAST Act (H.R. 1332), one of the key food safety reforms bills being considered by Congress.

During his speech, Stenzel focused on current industry-driven activities as well as the need to focus on policy reform that target preventive control standards.

"This briefing was an important opportunity to highlight for congressional offices what current food safety practices are being incorporated by the produce industry as well as identifying specific policy reforms that are essential to consider during this food safety debate," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president for public policy at United Fresh.

In addition to Mr. Stenzel, the panel included Scott Faber, Vice President for Government Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association and Dr. Martha Roberts, University of Florida.

For more information, please contact Robert at 202-303-3400 ext. 409.


Specter Switch Puts Spotlight Back on Card Check

SpecterLast week's announcement that Senator Arlen Specter (D – PA) would switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party may have major implications for card check legislation. Senator Specter (as a Republican) had recently announced his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. Once that happened, many outsiders felt the battle on this destructive legislation was over.

However, the party switch has now raised hopes that the necessary votes to move the legislation forward may be in reach. "Certainly the people pushing for a 'compromise' on card check will be emboldened by this change, but there is a huge danger that superficial modifications to the bill will actually lead to passage of the most destructive elements of EFCA," said Kam Quarles, Vice President of Government Relations/Legislative Affairs for United Fresh.

Concerned members of the industry can now let Congress know opposing the Employee Free Choice Act is an important priority for the fresh produce business by signing up for the United Fresh Grassroots Action Network and send a letter to their respective Members of Congress.   

For more information, please visit the United Fresh Card Check Resource Center or contact Kam at 202-303-3400 ext. 427.


Does Your Company Have the Tools to Weather the Storm?

RecallIn an era that demands accountability in food safety matters, your company's preparedness for a recall could mean the difference between the long-term success or the immediate failure of your business.

United Fresh, in conjunction with Syngenta, invites you to arm your business with the tools necessary to weather any recall storm while staying open, honest and accessible to the media, customers and consumers with Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire, May 27-29 in Salinas, Calif.

SyngentaThe two-day training program focuses on helping you understand the fundamentals of a product recall, including your responsibilities, the role of the FDA, how to limit your liability and manage customer expectations. In addition, take an in-depth look at how to build a customized communication plan in the event of a recall, and how to effectively communicate to the industry, customers, consumers and the media.

In addition to the two-day training course, United Fresh is offering a customized media training session that follows the recall training (separate registration required). This media training course prepares you for the stresses of a real-life interview, so you know what to expect when it really happens. Our communication experts will teach you how to deliver your messages while being aggressively interviewed under the heat of the camera lights.

For more information or to register, contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh Education Coordinator at 202-303-3400 ext. 425.


United Fresh Produce GAPs Meeting Comments Submitted to FDA

GAPS
A breakout group at the February GAPs meeting collaborates on comments to FDA's 1998 GAPs Guide.

Last February, more than 80 stakeholders in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) met in Herndon, Va. to discuss the FDA's current Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, with special attention paid to how it could be improved and how greater compliance could be encouraged.

The comments collected at that meeting were officially submitted to FDA for their consideration last week.

"A wealth of concerns and recommendations were provided by the meeting's participants", said Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president food safety and technology. "These comments will be useful to FDA as they update the 1998 GAPs Guide, but they should also provide useful direction to other organizations developing guidance on Good Agricultural Practices."

Complete records of the February meeting including invited presentations, comments from the individual breakout groups and more, are available here.


USDA-AMS Updates COOL Website; Offers Resources in Spanish

Lorelie DiSograThe USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service unveiled updates to its web-based resource for country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements, adding Spanish versions to the original English resources.

To download the resources, please follow the links below:

Preguntas Frecuentes (Questions and Answers)
Folleto para los Proveedores (Supplier Brochure)
Folleto para los Minoristas (Retailer Brochure)


New Member Welcome

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

  • FoodLogiQ, Durham, N.C.
  • LeDuc Blueberries, LLC, Paw Paw, Mich.
  • Tim Cooper Farm Enterprises, Fairfield, Texas
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 posts H1N1 Flu Q&A regarding food

Mobile food safety labs get USDA up to speed

Harkin targets Specter for EFCA compromise

Pennsylvania Food Safety Council holds first meeting

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

Trinidad packing house boosts farm profits

Vietnamese retailers complain safe produce is hard to find

Food process innovations gather momentum in U.K.

European Commission pledges support for more fair trade efforts

Banana talks making good progress


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