March 18, 2010

In Today's Issue:

Senator Lincoln Unveils Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

Yesterday, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, unveiled the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This chairman's mark is a discussion draft for Child Nutrition Reauthorization scheduled to be marked-up by the full committee on Wednesday, March 24.

Lincoln's bill provides $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over ten years, a significant increase over previous efforts.

"We are poised for a truly historic moment in the Senate Agriculture Committee with the unveiling of a bill that makes the largest investment in our child nutrition programs to date," said Sen. Lincoln. "This proposal is a monumental step forward as we work to end childhood hunger and address the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States."

The committee also released bill summaries for the hunger and nutrition aspects of the bill, as well as the bill's program management framework

Commenting on the chairman's mark, United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra said, "Senator Lincoln's bill is a great start toward improving the quality of school meals. We support the policy priorities in the bill and we are especially pleased to see the performance-based $.06-per-meal increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunch. This will help schools improve the nutritional quality of school meals, including serving more fresh fruits and vegetables. United Fresh wants to see a very robust Child Nutrition Act and we will continue to advocate with congressional leadership for the $1 billion per year in additional funding that President Obama has requested.''

For more information, contact Dr. DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403.

School Salad Bars Take Center Stage at United Fresh 2010

School salad bars will take center stage at United Fresh 2010 on Wednesday, April 21, with a keynote address from Eric Goldstein, chief executive officer, and Jorge Collazo, executive chef for the New York City Department of Education.

Their presentation, "Launching a Lifetime of Healthy Choices: New York City's Commitment to a Salad Bar in Every School," headlines a series of events at United Fresh 2010 to advance United’s policy goal to bring salad bars to schools across the country. New York City has made school salad bars a cornerstone of their effort to serve healthier school meals, purchasing 99 in 2009, an order made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided funds to purchase new cafeteria equipment and enabled schools to serve healthier meals.

"New York City schools are a fantastic example of how salad bars can work in school environments," said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at United Fresh. "Eric and Chef Jorge are demonstrating every day what can be done with salad bars to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and we are very pleased to have them join us at United Fresh 2010."

NYC SchoolFood, the foodservice operation of the New York City Department of Education, is the largest school foodservice provider in the country, serving more than 850,000 students every school day. As CEO of the Office of School Support Services, which oversees NYC SchoolFood, Goldstein leads a staff of 10,000 employees providing meals in 1,600 locations across the city. As a student in New York schools growing up in Queens, Goldstein is now giving back to his community on a mission to serve nutritious and healthy meals.

Collazo - or "Chef Jorge" as he is more commonly referred to in NYC foodie circles - joined NYC SchoolFood in 2004 as its first executive chef. He was previously a chef instructor at the New England Culinary Institute and held earlier executive chef positions with a number of major corporate dining management companies. Chef Jorge and his Culinary Concepts Department work to design new products for school menus that are delicious, cost-effective and reflect NYC SchoolFood’s nutritional goals.

In addition to Wednesday’s Breakfast General Session, Goldstein and Chef Jorge will meet with attendees at the United Fresh Membership Booth at 12:30 p.m. to answer questions and discuss how both schools and the industry can play a part in increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and encourage healthier eating habits for kids. Additionally, Goldstein and Chef Jorge will help lead a session for wholesalers at the Wholesaler-Distributor Learning Center at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon. 

Increasing produce consumption among children will also be the focus of Thursday's Nutrition and Health Council seminar. As one of four seminars hosted by the United Fresh Expert Advisory Councils, the nutrition seminar will focus on how new fruit and vegetable vouchers in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) can drive opportunities in retail supermarkets. In addition, Goldstein and Chef Jorge will share their views on overall school foodservice issues and using schools as an incubator of taste preferences and future choices for fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. DiSogra will moderate this program beginning at 10:15 a.m.

For more information about the United Fresh 2010 convention and expo, please visit and for more on the Salad Bar in Every School campaign, please contact United Fresh Vice President of Business Development Claudia Wenzing at 202-303-3400 ext. 415.

First Lady Steps Up "Let's Move" Campaign

First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to fight childhood obesity has landed her "Let's Move" campaign as the cover story of Newsweek, as she continues to personally carry the message to key audiences.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama delivered a pointed speech calling on the nation's food processing industry gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Grocery Manufacturers Association's annual Science Forum, to reformulate products to be lower in sugar, fat and sodium, and to make sure that only healthy products are advertised to children.  United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel attended the meeting, and spoke briefly with the First Lady following her address.  

"I told Mrs. Obama that the fresh fruit and vegetable industry applauded her leadership on childhood obesity and reminded her of our commitment to change the profile of foods in schools," Stenzel said. "From the fresh fruit and vegetable school snack program to our new Salad Bar in Every School Campaign, we are committed, together with the First Lady, to ending childhood obesity in the next generation."

The Newsweek cover story this week also highlights the key role that fresh fruits and vegetables can play in the effort. 

"Let's Move is about families making manageable changes that fit with their schedules, their budgets and their needs and tastes," writes Mrs. Obama. "It's about giving parents the tools they need to keep their families healthy and fit, and getting more nutritious food - more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less sugar, fat and salt - into our nation's schools."    

Republican Leader Gives Major Boost to AgJobs

Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar has became the first Republican to cosponsor the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act (AgJobs), giving a major boost to this important legislation for the fresh produce industry.

"We're really encouraged that a Republican senator of Lugar’s stature has signed on to cosponsor this bill with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been a long-time supporter of the bill," said United Fresh Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther.  "We all know that comprehensive immigration reform is controversial, but AgJobs can offer a bipartisan solution at least for agricultural workers."

The AgJobs legislation reforms the H-2A seasonal worker program and provides for earned legal status for undocumented farm workers to ensure the industry has access to a reliable and legal workforce. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL).

"This legislation is important to maintaining domestically grown supplies of healthy foods.  It incentivizes employers to hire a legal workforce and streamlines procedures for agriculture workers under the existing H-2A program where U.S. workers are not available," Sen. Lugar said. "There has consistently been bipartisan support for AgJobs legislation."

Mann Packing's Lorri Koster to Speak at 2010 Reception Honoring Women in Produce

Lorri Koster and U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) at the 2009 Washington Public Policy Conference.

Lorri Koster, co-chair of Mann Packing Company, will be the guest speaker at the 2010 Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Wednesday, April 21 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Held each year in conjunction with the United Fresh annual convention, the Reception Honoring Women in Produce recognizes all women working in the produce industry and selects one individual to share their personal experience of service working in the industry. From nominations submitted by United Fresh members across the industry, each year’s speaker is selected by a committee of her peers, including honorees from the past 15 years.

"Lorri is one of those progress-drivers in the produce industry," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "In addition to building a stalwart career within her own company, her commitment to leadership on the local and national level has benefitted our entire industry. She has also had to endure the heart-breaking loss of her brother Joe and father Don, yet preserved as a rock for her family and the entire Mann Packing family. One of the highlights of this reception each year is hearing the personal story of an outstanding leader in our industry, and I can't imagine a more deserving choice than Lorri."

The third generation of her family to work in agriculture, Koster began her career in 1990, directing Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Company's communications and marketing efforts. After a decade with Mann, she joined as vice president of marketing, followed by a post as associate publisher with Produce Business magazine. She also became publisher and editorial director of Coastal Grower magazine, a responsibility she continues today.  Koster rejoined Mann in 2006 as the company's co-chairman. 

Koster has led the produce industry from many positions of responsibility, including a term as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Fresh Cut Produce Association, where she held the distinction of becoming the first woman to chair a national U.S. produce trade association. She now serves as Chairman of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California, and as a member of the United Fresh Board of Directors. She also serves on the boards of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, Produce Marketing Association’s Foundation for Industry Talent, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

In 2005, she was named one of the industry's top 40 produce professionals under the age of 40 by Produce Business

Koster holds a Bachelor's in public relations from California State University, Chico and resides in Salinas, Calif., with her husband Tom and sons Jack and Sam.

The annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce has established itself as one of the more popular networking events at the association's annual convention.  This year's event will be held Wednesday, April 21, at 6:00 p.m. in the Delfino Ballroom of the Sands Expo & Convention Center.  Tickets are required for the event, as either part of the All-Access Convention package registration, or can be purchased on site for $50.

Past honorees include:

  • Tonya Antle, Earthbound Farm
  • Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Frieda's, Inc.
  • Margaret D’Arrigo, D'Arrigo Brothers of California
  • Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
  • Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable  Company
  • Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle, Inc.
  • Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission
  • Dr. Martha Rhodes-Roberts, Florida Commissioner's Office for Food Safety
  • Heather Shavey, Costco Wholesale
  • Steffanie Smith, River Point Farms LLC
  • Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
  • Jenny Tenney, The Kroger Company

Attendees Will Vote for Best New Products at United Fresh 2010 in Las Vegas

Attendees in the United Fresh Membership Booth vote on the New Product Awards at United Fresh 2009.

Twenty-nine of the top new products in the produce industry will compete in six categories for the title of Best New Product at United Fresh 2010, April 20-23 in Las Vegas, Nev.

United Fresh presents the awards each year at its annual convention and expo.

"New and improved products stimulate the growth and profitability of our industry," said John Toner, vice president of convention and industry relations for United Fresh. "The awards honor the results of years of research and development and the foresight of companies in bringing new innovation to the marketplace."

"New product development is one of the primary reasons we host a trade show along with the educational programs at our annual convention," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "Our goal is to drive innovation and adoption of new technologies to help boost value to the consumer and profitability to the industry. The finalists for this year's new product awards provide a wide array of innovations for our industry and will offer a wealth of fresh ideas to everyone visiting the show."

Products will be on display in the United Fresh Membership Booth on the show floor, where they will be judged by all attendees throughout the show. Winners will be determined by total votes received as of 2:00 p.m. April 22, and will be announced approximately one hour later after tabulation. 

This year's finalists are:

Best New Packaging

  • Fresh Express Artisanal Salads, Chiquita Brands
  • Renewable Wide-Flange Container and Lidding Film, Clear-Lam Packaging, Inc.
  • Pack-in-MAP® Technology, Pack-in-MAP® Technology
  • Tamper-Resistant™ Rectangles, PWP Industries
  • RunRite Clamshells, Sambrailo Packaging

Best New Food Safety Solution

  • SISTEM 4.0, Alchemy Systems
  • FlashLink VU, DeltaTRAK, Inc.
  • FieldPack PTI, TraceGains, Inc.
  • VoiceCode, HarvestMark

Best New Processing Equipment

  • FogTunnel Produce Treatment System, AgSolutions, Inc.
  • Fresh-Cut Accessories, Charlie’s Machine and Supply, Inc.
  • CARR-O-CUT, Everett Brothers Engineering, Ltd.
  • In-Crate Washing and Drying System, FTNON USA, Inc.
  • OnCore™ Lettuce Core Removal System, Key Technology, Inc.
  • Automatic Multi-Decorer Titano 2010, Turatti SRL

Best New Fruit Product

  • Grab N Go Grape Tomato Bags, Andrew & Williamson
  • Chiquita Fresh & Ready Avocados, Chiquita Brands
  • Del Monte CRT™ Single Finger Banana, Del Monte Fresh Produce Company
  • Ready To Eat Mimi Candy Tomatoes, Mastronardi Produce/Sunset®
  • Ready Snax® Fresh Fruit Parfaits!, Ready Pac Produce
  • Dipping Chocolates, Tropical Nut & Fruit

Best New Packing/Packaging Equipment

  • Primus Optical Sorter, Best Sorting
  • Ultra Bagger (Girbagger) Bagging Machine, Giro Pack
  • MacroTote™, Macro Plastics
  • MCT Absorbent Pouch Filling System, Maxwell Chase Technologies
  • 6428 RPC, Polymer Logistics

Best New Vegetable Product

  • Ready Pac Bistro® Seasonal Salads - Italiano & Waldorf, Ready Pac Produce
  • Jade Asian Greens, San Miguel Produce
  • Simply Special Vegetable Sauces, USA Fresh, LLC

Last year's New Product Award winners were:

  • Best Food Safety Tool or Service: Ultra Wireless Label, PakSense
  • Best New Packaging Equipment: Genius Optical Sorter, Best Sorting
  • Best New Processing Equipment: Broccoli Floret Machine, Charlie's Machine & Supply, Inc.
  • Best New Packaging: Air-O-Films Ventilated Pallet Wrap, West Coast Supplies
  • Best New Fruit or Vegetable Product: Chiquita Pineapple Bites, Chiquita Brands

For more information on the New Product Awards, contact United Fresh Convention Services Coordinator Jill Grigg at 202-303-3400 ext. 420.

Chilean Fresh Fruit Industry Launches Relief Effort for Victims of Earthquake

In light of last month's magnitude-8.8 earthquake and the associated damage to infrastructure in rural areas, the Chilean Exporters Association (ASOEX) has announced that it will organize a relief campaign to support reconstruction of a rural school in one of the affected agricultural regions.

To channel voluntary donations made by members of the domestic and international fresh fruit community towards this campaign, a special account will be set up and will be audited by an internationally-recognized entity.

ASOEX has advised that friends and colleagues interested in providing assistance to Chile to keep checking for updates at during the coming days.

United Fresh Interacts with Members in Northern Kentucky, Ohio

United Fresh Chairman Jim Lemke speaks before last week's United Fresh Town Hall in Kentucky.

The United Fresh membership team of Vice President Jeff Oberman and Director Miriam Miller enjoyed a first last week, traveling to Kentucky for United's first ever Town Hall program in the Ohio-Kentucky region. The event was generously hosted by the Castellini Group of Companies.

Prior to the event, Oberman and Miller had the opportunity to meet Thursday with United Fresh Wholesaler-Distributor Board member Joe Klare and tour operations at both Castellini Company and Club Chef.

"There's no better way for us to understand our members' challenges and opportunities than visiting their operations in person," said Miller. "We always value the chance to meet with our members face- to-face and see their businesses in action."

At the Town Hall on Friday, more than fifty members and industry representatives traveled from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky to discuss key industry issues, including nutrition, food safety, labor and sustainability as well as hear an update on United Fresh’s member benefits and programs, including United Fresh 2010 in April. United Fresh Chairman Jim Lemke led the attendees in an update and discussion of supply chain management and the Produce Traceability Initiative. "We've been extremely pleased with the feedback from all of our Town Hall meetings this membership year," said Oberman. "United Fresh has truly made an effort to reach our members regionally and we very much look forward to continuing our Town Hall program for many years to come!"

If you have any questions about the town hall program, please contact Jeff Obermann at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400 ext. 410.

United Fresh Leaders to Meet With California Industry Next Week

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel speaks at a United Fresh Town Hall in Visalia, Calif. in 2009.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel will speak to the California Grape & Tree Fruit League's annual convention in Monterey, Calif., on Monday before joining more than 80 local produce leaders for a United Fresh Town Hall luncheon in nearby Salinas on Wednesday.

Stenzel will join United Vice President of Supply Chain Management Dan Vaché in talking with CGTFL attendees about produce traceability and food safety. Wednesday's Town Hall meeting will then cover those issues and more, as Stenzel and United's Western Regional Vice President Jeff Oberman report on the United Foundation's Salad Bar in Every School Campaign and provide a preview of the upcoming United Fresh 2010 convention in Las Vegas, April 20-23.

The Town Hall will be held at the University of California Ag Center Conference Room in Salinas to accommodate the large audience. Registration is complimentary and guests can register here through March 19.

Inside United Fresh 2010: Learning Center to Focus on Updates on PACA, USDA Inspection Programs

Looking for an update on the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act?

Have questions about USDA inspection programs?

If so, make a point to join United Fresh and the wholesaler and distributor community at the Wholesaler-Distributor Learning Center at United Fresh 2010.

Whether you're new to the industry or looking for a refresher, take part in this customized session for wholesalers and distributors to get the latest updates on PACA, produce inspection and other USDA initiatives.

"As PACA is the main point of dispute resolution for the domestic produce industry, it is imperative that members of the industry understand all of the processes in play during a dispute, as well as a broader understanding of the purpose and background of PACA," said United Fresh Membership Director Miriam Miller.

USDA Fresh Products Branch representatives will be on hand in the center to provide an update on what’s in the works at USDA, as well as answer your questions.

"United Fresh members have a very unique opportunity to get valuable information and feedback directly from federal agencies, given our long-standing relationships and history of cooperation with USDA, FDA and other governmental bodies," said Miller. "Events like this one are a fantastic avenue for attendees to the show to understand the intricacies of the inspection process and many of the PACA nuances that may not be apparent on paper."

Visit to see details on the entire convention schedule. Early registration discounts end March 22, so be sure to register today for United Fresh 2010, April 20-23, in Las Vegas.

World-Class Entertainment for Free? Why Haven’t You Registered Yet?

Congratulations to Maria Buffone of Sobeys, winner of last week's United Fresh Show-A-Week Giveaway. Maria won a pair of tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ at the MGM Grand.

Each Friday from now until United Fresh 2010, we'll draw one lucky winner from all registered attendees and send them to see an evening of fantastic Las Vegas entertainment completely free!

This week’s Show-A-Week Giveaway: Blue Man Group

Register now for United Fresh 2010 to be automatically entered for your chance to win two tickets to a Las Vegas show during United Fresh 2010, April 20-23. We update the list each week with new registrants, so the sooner you register for United Fresh 2010, the greater your chances to win!

Attendees must be paid in full to be eligible and may win only once. Tickets will be valid for shows on April 20 and April 21, 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
Hillary Brick, The Giumarra Companies - Mystére by Cirque du Soleil
Mike Aiton, Prime Time International - Phantom of the Opera
Becky Baker, Potandon Produce - Blue Man Group
Steven Karr, Pride Pak Canada - Criss Angel: Believe
Mike Scuderi, Costa Fruit & Produce - 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:

  • Bejo Seeds, Oceano, Calif.
  • Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Fano Fine Foods, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands
  • Fiber Packaging Systems, Inc., Madera, Calif.
  • Groupe Tomapure Inc., Laval, QC
  • Watson/Mulhern LLC, Washington, D.C.

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

A push for healthier school meals in Philadelphia – Philadelphia Inquirer

Changes may cost farmers but boost worker wages – Tampa Tribune

South Dakota announces availability of specialty crop block grants – KTIV-TV Sioux City, Iowa

FDA consults with Ohio farm on food safety policies – WCMH-TV, Columbus, Ohio

Summit panel tackles food safety in Arizona – Yuma Sun


Midwestern farmers push for Cuban markets – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Efforts to raise food safety standards in Kuwait – Kuwait Times

Chinese official calms fears over veggies – Global Times

EU orders repayment of $476.8 million in farm subsidies – BusinessWeek

Brazilian tariffs could stall exports – Capital Press

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