February 11, 2010

In Today's Issue:

United Fresh Launches “Salad Bar in Every School” Campaign

The United Fresh Produce Association Foundation announced Tuesday the launch of “A Salad Bar in Every School” campaign, a multi-year public health commitment from the fresh produce industry designed to bring fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. 

"We are pleased to join First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign announced Tuesday to combat childhood obesity, one of the greatest health threats to our children, and long-term threats to our nation’s ability to provide affordable health care," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

Mr. and Mrs. Obama announced goals Tuesday to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation. The president signed a memorandum establishing the first-ever federal taskforce on childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign aims to improve childhood nutrition and exercise and could receive $1 billion a year in funding over 10 years.

The United Fresh Foundation"s "Salad Bar in Every School" campaign is based on the personal involvement and charitable commitment of produce growers, distributors and marketers to raise private funds to donate salad bars to schools in cities and counties across the country to serve as demonstration models for increasing children’s fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. These demonstration projects will then assist school nutrition professionals, principals and teachers, parents groups and community supporters in working with local, state and federal government officials to bring salad bars to all schools.

Students at Elisie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School enjoy fresh produce from the salad bar donated by United Fresh.

United Fresh donated its first salad bar to the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School in Washington, DC last fall, where it continues to help school officials foster healthier choices and children’s interest in a variety of fresh produce items.

"We strongly support the Obama Administration's childhood obesity initiatives, and urge the Congress to provide similar support in reauthorizing childhood nutrition legislation this year," Stenzel said. "We believe an important step in reauthorization would be to include key elements of the Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009 (H.R. 4333) introduced by Representatives Sam Farr and Adam Putnam, along with numerous co-sponsors. This bill supports a national salad bar policy for schools, increased funding for school equipment, and better access to fruits and vegetables, which will be required to enable schools to meet the Dietary Guidelines," he said.

United Fresh members wishing to get involved in this important campaign can contact Claudia Wenzing at 202-303-3400.

New York City - Committed to a Salad Bar in Every School

Last Friday, United Fresh's Dr. Lorelei DiSogra and Andrew Marshall met with New York City School Food officials to discuss their commitment to having fruit and vegetable salad bars in every NYC school. New York City, the largest school district in the country serves about 1 million students every day.

Chef Jorge Collazo, executive chef for NYC schools, is the inspiration for adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and salad bars to the city’s school meals. Salad bars have been his single most successful innovation; first placing them in high schools, then middle schools and now elementary schools. Chef Jorge and NYC school food officials are seriously committed to getting a salad bar in every school in the city.

New York City recently purchased 99 new salad bars for elementary schools and many refrigerators using $2 million they received from the Stimulus funding for cafeteria equipment. Chef Jorge has also developed a Salad Bar Field Guide to help schools create a successful salad bar with a variety of flavors, textures and colors. He has also trained school food officials from other large cities on how to implement salad bars.

Lorelei and the NYC SchoolFood Team pose with the salad bar at P.S.56 in Brooklyn.

Chef Jorge and other NYC School Food officials accompanied Lorelei to Brooklyn’s Public School 56 to see their new salad bar and have lunch with students. "Friday is pizza day in all NYC schools and after getting their slice of pizza the kids went to the salad bar and piled on broccoli, lettuce, carrots, celery and apples. The fresh fruits and vegetables in the salad bar were beautiful and many of the young kids added 3 to 4 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to their trays," said Dr. DiSogra.

The salad bar.

City officials noted that their biggest challenge is funding to place salad bars in more schools and to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. "To see this salad bar, how it is benefiting these children, and to know that 99 NYC elementary schools now have new salad bars, makes all of our work on the Stimulus worth it. This is the reason United Fresh is working so hard to ensure Congress provides additional funding for cafeteria equipment in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and why we have launched our Salad Bar in Every School Campaign." said Dr. DiSogra.  There are thousands of schools nation-wide that want salad bars and need new cafeteria equipment so they can serve healthier meals.  Contact Lorelei DiSogra for more information.

AG Secretary Vilsack Underscores Priorities for Child Nutrition

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday highlighted the Obama Administration's priorities for reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act. Secretary Vilsack held a national conference call with United Fresh and hundreds of concerned advocates from across the country.

On the call, Secretary Vilsack outlined the administration's goals:

  1. Improve access to the school nutrition programs to end child hunger.
  2. Increase participation in the School Breakfast Program and provide higher reimbursement rates for schools to serve a healthy breakfast.
  3. Improve the nutritional quality of school meals, including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat and fat free dairy products, and providing financial reimbursements for schools to serve healthier foods.
  4. Include funding to improve school kitchens so they can provide meals that meet the Dietary Guidelines and offer fresh fruits and vegetables.
  5. Ensure that all foods served in schools are healthy and nutritious, including foods served in vending machines and the a la carte lines.
  6. Ensure that parents and students have correct and complete nutritional information about foods being served in schools.
  7. Strengthen the link between local farmers and school cafeterias; supporting farm-to-school programs.
  8. Guarantee the integrity of the child nutrition programs.

Secretary Vilsack also called on advocates to engage their members of Congress to demand a strong child nutrition bill.

"I was impressed to hear Secretary Vilsack repeatedly mention the need to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and their commitment to incentivize schools to improve meal quality" said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh's vice president for nutrition. "Many of the Obama Administration’s priorities match our priorities for child nutrition and we are committed to working with Congress for a strong bill." For more information, contact Lorelei DiSogra.

United Fresh Hosts Successful Events at Fruit Logistica and Freshconex in Berlin

Last week, United Fresh Chairman Jim Lemke, C.H. Robinson, President Tom Stenzel and other association leaders announced three new global member service programs at Fruit Logistica and Freshconex in Berlin, Germany. The reaction was strong in support of the new AllThingsProduce.com online marketplace, United FreshLink member communications forum, and the new Fresh Convenience Congress to be held in London June 22-24.

United Fresh also hosted this year's Freshconex Business Forums in partnership with Eurofruit Magazine, providing attendees with educational sessions in new technology, marketing and new channel development, food safety and traceability for the fresh convenience sector.

Attendees gained information from a number of United Fresh members including Amcor Flexibles, NatureWorks, PerfoTec B.V., Chiquita, Del Monte Fresh Produce, C.H. Robinson, Sensitech and United Fresh staff presentations by Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology.  Jeff Oberman, vice president, membership moderated all of the Freshconex Business Forums.

On Thursday, February 4, United Fresh hosted its annual Fruit Logistica reception, sponsored by IFCO Systems, to toast global members in attendance.

For more information about Fruit Logistica, the Freshconex Business Forums or Fresh Convenience Europe, please contact Jeff Oberman at 831-422-0940.

Administration Reverses H2A Reforms

The Obama Administration has released its final rule reversing 2008 reforms to the H2A program. This action was widely expected, yet strongly opposed by a broad coalition of agricultural users of the H2A program.

"These intentional actions have caused tremendous confusion among the users of this program, at a time when American companies are already dealing with uncertainty in a host of areas.  Unfortunately this is a self-inflicted wound that makes the program less useful and its users less competitive," said Kam Quarles, Vice President of Government Relations/Legislative Affairs for United Fresh.

The reforms to the H2A program were a top priority for reversal after the Obama Administration took office.  They will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow, (Friday, February 12th) and be effective 30 days afterward.

A link to the rule is located here:


Calling All Rising Industry Leaders

United Fresh is now accepting applications for the 16th annual class of the Produce Industry Leadership Program.  Made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, the program is a special opportunity for “up-and-coming” industry leaders to advance their leadership skills and industry knowledge.

Launched in 1995, the leadership program is developed around four fundamental goals: Leadership Development; Business Relationships; Government & Public Affairs and Media & Public Relations. During the yearlong 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; interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington, D.C. and much more.

Participation in the program is limited to 12 individuals. The applicants are reviewed by the Leadership Advisory Committee and 12 individuals are chosen from a broad cross section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership.  Since the program's inception, more than 160 industry members have participated.

Candidates interested in applying for the program can download information and an application here. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5, 2010.  The Leadership Program is an exclusive program for United Fresh members only, and is the only ongoing, fully paid national leadership program for the produce industry.  For more information, contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator, at 202-303-3405.

Industry Gears Up for Produce Inspection Training Program

Later this month, industry members throughout the supply chain will head to the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Va for the first United Fresh Produce Inspection Training Program in 2010.  Presented in partnership with the USDA, this training course, scheduled for February 22-26, provides attendees with the opportunity to train under USDA inspectors and learn the fundamentals of produce inspection and the metrics by which USDA inspects and grades fresh produce.

"This program provides a comprehensive overview of key USDA inspection procedures and standards," said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services. "It combines a number of mediums for training such as lab work, classroom lectures and discussion sessions, which allows participants to become fully engaged on these real-world topics."

The program is offered in two specialized courses, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Upon completion of both courses, attendees receive a certificate of recognition from United Fresh and USDA.

To learn more about the upcoming Produce Inspection Training Program in February and the additional courses scheduled for June7-11 and September 20-24, click here or contact Julie Jacocks, education coordinator, at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

More Tickets from the United Fresh 2010 Show-A-Week Giveaway!

Congratulations to The Giumarra Companies' Hillary Brick, winner of last week's United Fresh Show-A-Week Giveaway. Hillary won a pair of tickets to Mystere at Treasure Island.

Not to worry, though. Each Friday leading up to United Fresh 2010, all registered attendees have the opportunity to not only experience the best trade show in Las Vegas, but also enjoy the best entertainment in town as well! Las Vegas boasts world-class shows and entertainers and only United Fresh 2010 attendees can win top show tickets for FREE!

Register now for United Fresh 2010 you'll be automatically entered for United's weekly Show-A-Week Giveaway. We're talking about world-class, fabulous Vegas entertainment - for FREE, courtesy of United Fresh 2010.

Every Friday, United Fresh draws one lucky winner from all United Fresh 2010 registered attendees to receive two tickets to a Las Vegas show during United Fresh 2010, April 20-23*. Each week the list will be updated with the most current registrants, so the sooner you register for United Fresh 2010, the greater your chances to win! Show-A-Week Giveaway tickets will include: The Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, and more!

This week's Show-A-Week Giveaway: Phantom of the Opera

Registered attendees must be paid in full to be eligible for Show-A-Week Giveaway. Attendees may win only once. Tickets will be valid for shows on April 20 and April 21, 2010.

United Fresh 2010 is the most innovative, cost-effective and business-oriented event in the produce industry. We are back in Las Vegas with a new educational program and trade show format designed specifically to serve each segment of the produce industry. United Fresh 2010 will bring attendees face to face with the experts, tools and technologies, and new products needed to build a winning business at each stage of the produce supply chain.

Register now to join the winners attending United Fresh 2010.

Previous Winners:

Susan Reimer-Sifford, Darden Restaurants - Viva Elvis by Cirque du Soleil
Emily Fragoso, Coast Produce - KÁ by Cirque du Soleil
Greg Kurkjian, Mann Packing Company - Jersey Boys

United Fresh 2010 Show-A-Week Giveaway is sponsored by:

New Member Welcome

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

  • Eillert, BV, Winterswijk, The Netherlands
  • Los Kitos Produce, Fresno, Calif.
  • The Kenyon Group, Ltd., Colorado Springs, Col.
  • PECO Pallet, Inc., Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
  • Super Centre Limited, Christ Church, Barbados
  • Universal Shipping, Inc., Pomona, 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 at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

News & Views


News and Views

Chiquita Announces Support for School Salad Bar Campaign - Marketwatch

Michelle Obama takes on childhood obesity - Washington Post

Trade keen on fresh convenience - Fruitnet.com

Labor Dept Approves New Rules on Farm Workers - ABC News


Cuba sharply reduces US food imports amid hardship

Guatemala to hold trade event

Record attendance at the top fresh produce industry event in Berlin -- Freshplaza

World Trade Turns Around - Forbes

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