March 25, 2010

In Today's Issue:

UnitedFresh.TV to Launch with Live Broadcast from Las Vegas Convention

Next month in Las Vegas, United Fresh will launch a new online media website, www.UnitedFresh.TV, with the first live, interactive webcast targeted to produce marketers and retailers from the floor of United Fresh 2010.

The one-hour, live internet broadcast will feature a discussion with winners of the United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program, sponsored for the past six years by Ready Pac Foods, Inc. The streaming video session will air live at 1:00 p.m. PDT in Las Vegas (4:00 p.m. EDT), Thursday, April 22. The broadcast will allow for questions from internet viewers worldwide, in addition to United Fresh convention attendees on the trade show floor.

"The streaming broadcast is a great opportunity to bring sales tips and customer service strategies from these outstanding produce managers to retailers and marketers around the country and around the world," said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of communications. "This year's winners represent top store managers from 20 different supermarket chains. Their stories and their strategies can be both inspirational and educational, so we’re inviting all retailers throughout the industry to have their in-store managers participate in this unique event."

UnitedFresh.TV will also feature daily news coverage of other educational programs and events from the convention, including reports from the Traceability and Food Safety Demo Centers on the show floor, interviews with major speakers, hot topics covering each sector of the supply chain and new products, services and solutions on display at the show. The association gratefully acknowledges the support of Chiquita Fresh in sponsoring UnitedFresh.TV at this year’s convention.

"UnitedFresh.TV provides an opportunity to extend the value of the convention to industry members around the globe," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.  "United is committed to using our annual convention to provide useful information to the entire industry, not just to our attendees onsite. You can expect to see continuing innovation to advance our public policy issues through key speakers and programming, increase global education and networking through new media such as UnitedFresh.TV, and drive innovation in products and technologies through our new online virtual marketplace,"

Following the convention, the association will continue to use UnitedFresh.TV to post video reports, public policy updates and educational material of interest to the industry.  Video reports will be highlighted on the United Fresh website and Inside United Fresh, the association’s weekly newsletter, as well as posted on the United Fresh YouTube channel and Facebook page. 

United Fresh Applauds Sen. Boxer's School Nutrition Bill

A seminal bill introduced last week by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is eliciting cheers from United Fresh.

The Healthy Food in Schools Act of 2010 (S. 3144) reflects many of United’s priorities for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, most notably the bill’s prominent recognition of school salad bars as an effective strategy for increasing children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables and funding for salad bars and cafeteria equipment. Sen. Boxer’s colleague from North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan has co-sponsored S. 3144 and is also very committed to increasing fruits and vegetables in school meals.  

"United Fresh has worked for more than a decade to advance federal nutrition policies that increase access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "Sen. Boxer’s bill will help our efforts to ensure school meals provide a wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables that help children develop healthy eating habits for a lifetime."

The Healthy Food in Schools Act is the companion bill to H.R. 4333, The Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009, introduced by Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL), which now has 57 co-sponsors. Together, these two bills offer policy recommendations that will help to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. 

"Perhaps at no other time has the opportunity been greater to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for our nation's school children," Stenzel added. "United Fresh is committed to working with the Obama Administration and Congress to significantly improve consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables to foster healthier lifestyles for American kids."

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Moves Forward in the Senate

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry unanimously approved Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Tuesday, reauthorizing child nutrition programs.

The bipartisan legislation invests $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over the next ten years and, for the first time in 40 years, increases the reimbursement rate for school lunch by $.06 per meal. 

During consideration of the bill, the committee approved the manager's amendment and several other amendments offered by committee members. 

Now, the bill moves to the Senate floor, however no date for floor debate has been announced. The House Education and Labor Committee is expected to mark-up their version of the bill in April after the spring district work period.

United Fresh and other child nutrition advocates are committed to a robust Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill and are actively engaged with congressional leadership to find additional funds to support key priorities.

For more information, contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health at 202-303-3400 ext. 403.   

Chefs Focusing on Produce to Be Featured at United Fresh 2010

United Fresh is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards. This year's honorees represent a wide range of culinary styles and backgrounds. The awards, sponsored by Pro*Act LLC, honor chefs and their companies for the innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts and will be presented at the United Fresh 2010 Convention, April 20-23 in Las Vegas, Nev.

"Pro*Act is very proud to sponsor this award, now in its third year," said Pro*Act president and CEO Steve Grinstead. "We thank all of the nominees and all of the chefs who work every day to help increase fresh produce consumption, and we look forward to honoring this year's winners in Las Vegas."

"All of the honorees show a tremendous commitment to using fresh produce to create innovative and nutritious menu items," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel.  "We greatly appreciate Pro*Act's support in recognizing these winners and their positive impact on our nation's dining habits." 

Winners were selected in five business categories from nearly 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and restaurants across the industry.  A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders judged the submissions, reviewing how each nominee incorporates fresh produce into menu development, uses protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, shows leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and builds an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce. Both the chefs and their corporate executives will be honored in Las Vegas.

The 2010 winners in each category are:

Business in Industry & Colleges:
Chef Fred Reynaud, Corporate Executive Chef, Guest Services, Inc., Fairfax, Va.

Casual & Family Dining:
Chef Christopher Jackson, Executive Chef and Owner, Ted & Honey, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fine Dining:
Chef Sydney Meers, Chef/Owner, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, Va.

Hotels & Healthcare:
Chef Michael Reich, Executive Chef, Renaissance Chicago Hotel, Chicago, Ill.

Quick Service:
Chef Thomas John, Senior Vice President and Executive Chef, Au Bon Pain, Boston, Mass.

United Fresh 2010 Honors Retail Produce Managers on the Front Lines

United Fresh 2010 will be the place of honor as 25 outstanding produce managers representing 20 different supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 17 states and Canada, are recognized through the United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program.

This program, generously sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, Inc., is presented through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Excellence to pay special recognition to those on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. 2010 will mark the sixth year of this program.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel praised the 2010 winners, saying "these men and women represent the 'best of the best' in our industry. Through their creative efforts and interaction with customers, they're making produce a centerpiece of the retail shopping experience and wowing consumers everyday."

The 25 winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry.

The 2010 winners are:

  • Douglas Collins, Food City, Prestonsburg, Ky.
  • Lynette DeClerck, Niemann Foods, Inc., Pana, Ill.
  • Brent Doud, Safeway Stores, Inc, Albany, Ore.
  • Samuel D. Fannin, The Kroger Co., Reynoldsburg, Ohio
  • Jeff Freeman, Save Mart, Clovis, Calif.
  • Judy Gauthier, Buy-Low Foods, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
  • James Grande, King Soopers, Aurora, Colo.
  • Steve Gray, MOM's Organic Market, Frederick, Md.
  • Cris Gutierrez, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Reno, Nev.
  • Angela Hamilton, Al's Supermarkets, La Porte, Ind.
  • Claudette Johnson, Jewel-Osco, Plainfield, Ill.
  • Lannie W. Kiser Jr., Brookshire Grocery Co., Kaufman, Texas
  • Valerie Lambert, Food City, Wise, Va.
  • Ryan Lindner, Hy-Vee, Inc., Madison, Wis.
  • Jeff Oelfke, Chief Supermarket, Inc., Bryan, Ohio
  • Lisa Paulis, Vons, La Jolla, Calif.
  • Joseph Ortiz, Brookshire Grocery Co., Monroe, La.
  • Shawn Seely, Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corp., Edwardsville, Pa.
  • Rick Stolarik, Big Y Foods, Inc, Tolland, Conn.
  • John Thut, Bel Air Markets; Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Gary Viall, Hannaford Bros. Company, Colonie, N.Y. 
  • Juronald Williams, Ord Community Commissary, Seaside, Calif.
  • Willie L. Williams Jr., The Kroger Co., Englewood, Ohio
  • John Wombacher, Hy-Vee, Inc., Iowa City, Iowa
  • Craig Yamane, Bel Air Markets; Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, Calif.

"Ready Pac is proud to once again sponsor this program that recognizes the hard work and excellence shown by these exceptional retail produce managers," said Ready Pac's President and CEO, Michael Solomon. "We are delighted to present this award to these well-deserving individuals and companies and commend them for a job well done!"

Stenzel added, "I'd like to extend a special note of thanks to the entire Ready Pac team for their ongoing support of this program. Thanks to their generosity, we have honored well over 100 managers since this program's inception in 2005!"

The winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including their efforts to increase produce consumption through everyday excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to total customer satisfaction. All winners and their corporate produce directors will be honored at the convention during the Chairman's Reception & Annual Awards Banquet, Thursday, April 22, at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. During the banquet, five grand prize recipients will be announced to receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.

Conference attendees will also hear from a panel of the winners on produce success at the store level during "Winning Retail Strategies: Secrets of the Retail Manager Award Winners." This special event will take place on the afternoon of Thursday afternoon and will be broadcast live at UnitedFresh.TV. In this exciting live production, broadcast in real-time to the Web, our award-winning retail produce managers will share insider tips about what consumers are really doing in the produce aisles.

Applications for the 2011 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program will be available this fall online at, with winners to be honored at the 2011 United Fresh convention.

Attendance at the Annual Awards Banquet at United Fresh 2010 is included in the Convention Package and the All-Access Pass. Registration is now open online at  

Miller Brings United Message to Market Managers in Big D

Miriam Miller, United Fresh director of membership and staff liaison to the United Fresh Wholesaler-Distributor board, will address the National Association of Produce Market Managers at its 2010 Annual Convention later today in Dallas, Texas.

Presenting the session "Dispatches from Washington: Upcoming Nutrition and Food Safety Legislation That Will Impact Your Business," to a joint session of wholesale and retail market managers, Miller will detail the effects of Washington happenings on local produce businesses.

"Every member of the produce supply chain needs to be aware of critical pending legislation that will affect our industry," said Miller.  "Some of the bills currently under consideration have the potential to seriously impact produce operations, and it is crucial that members of the industry make their voices heard.  Likewise, some of this legislation has the potential to very positively impact produce consumption, as well as create new business opportunities for the industry."

For more information on the meeting, contact Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400 ext. 410.

GLOBALGAP Offers Train-the-Trainer Workshop in Las Vegas

GLOBALGAP has announced a Crops Base/Fruit & Vegetable Train-the-Trainer Seminar (TTS) to be held immediately prior to United Fresh 2010, April 19-20 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Las Vegas, Nev.

The objective of this workshop is to present the structure and documentation for a successful implementation of the Crops Base and Fruit & Vegetables GLOBALGAP standards. Auditors of applicant certification bodies, quality managers, as well as any technical advisors interested in how the GLOBALGAP certification system operates are encouraged to attend.

For more details and registration, please click here or contact United Fresh Government Relations Assistant Erin Grether at 202-303-3400 ext. 402.

Agriculture and Farm Labor Leaders Meet to Discuss Immigration Reform

In light of the current discussions at the White House and in Congress regarding reforming the nation's immigration laws, leadership from the Agriculture Coalition for  Immigration Reform (ACIR) and United Farm Workers (UFW) will meet in Washington Tuesday to discuss the prospects of Congress moving immigration legislation this year. The group was also joined by staff from the White House and key congressional leaders during the day-long summit.

"It is clear that there is positive momentum around immigration reform on the heels of the president's commitment to seeking a solution to a broken immigration system, the announcement of bi-partisan legislative framework in the Senate, and the hundreds of thousands of immigration reform advocates who marched on D.C. this past weekend," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh and a executive committee member of ACIR.  "We know have to develop an appropriate political and policy strategy that can guide a path to realizing legal and stable workforce for the fresh produce industry."

United Fresh strongly supports the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act, or AgJOBS, which has been introduce by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). Both bills have bipartisan support and represent a major agreement between farmworker advocates (led by UFW) and major agricultural employers (members of ACIR) to address the agricultural immigration crisis.

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

United FreshPAC Supporters to Strike It Rich in Vegas

For the third year in a row, supporters of United FreshPAC will gather at Lucky Strike at Las Vegas' Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino Tuesday, April 20, for a night of fun at Striking It Rich in Vegas, the organization's annual bowling tournament.

"This event has been a blast each year we've had it," said United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Bezon. "Attendees to the event will enjoy opportunities to mingle and network with friends from the produce industry while we enjoy music, dinner, bowling, open bar and pool tables. Plus the $100 contribution to the PAC goes directly to supporting produce champions on Capitol Hill."

Established in 1976 in order to promote United Fresh member involvement in the political process, United FreshPAC gives members a forum to support candidates for Congress, helping to elect and re-elect pro-produce candidates and encourage progress on issues including child nutrition, food safety legislation, immigration reform and supply chain policy. 100% of United FreshPAC funds support members of Congress who support issues important to United Fresh members.

For more information on Striking it Rich or on United FreshPAC, contact Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.

United Fresh to Cover 2010 Convention Live via Twitter, Facebook


Here's a reminder that you can catch up on United Fresh 2010 news via the United Fresh page on Facebook, the world’s largest social networking community. In addition to coverage of the Las Vegas show on Facebook, industry members will be able to follow regularly posted updates on show happenings through the association's Twitter feed at

"As our industry modernizes, social networking sites like Facebook and micro-blogs like Twitter are emerging as an effective way to reach industry members, media and consumers," said Patrick Delaney, United's communications manager. "Twitter gives us a unique tool with which we can report on show events in real time, rather than take the time to post a formal news release or member alert. Facebook allows users to stay updated, share news and information, post photos and videos from United Fresh 2010 and related events and more. We look forward to the new level of member and industry connection that these services will bring to United Fresh."

Additionally, the United Fresh Facebook page will be a key part of UnitedFresh.TV, United's live, streaming webcast and video portal from United Fresh 2010. As they are released, UnitedFresh.TV segments will be posted on the United Facebook page for users to view and share, in addition to their presence on UnitedFresh.TV. For United's Twitter followers, the association has established the #United2010 hashtag for the organization of all United Fresh 2010-related tweets. 

For more information please contact Patrick Delaney at 202-303-3400 ext. 417.

Inside United Fresh 2010: Researchers Offer New Opportunities for Fresh and Fresh-Cut Products

Do you know what "watersoaking" is and how to prevent it? Want to learn more about a sustainable packaging system for cherries, blackberries or other produce? How about recommended storage temperatures for fresh-cut tropical fruit?  Answers to these questions and more will be provided at the annual Poster Session in the Food Safety Demo Center at United Fresh 2010.

This year, 18 research reports by an international list of fresh and fresh-cut researchers will cover food safety and quality issues important to our industry. United Fresh 2010 is the only show to offer this concentration of fresh produce scientists, as well as an opportunity to talk with them one-on-one to see how their research can improve your products and your business. 

Also, be sure not to miss the Science Symposium, sponsored by United's Food Safety and Technology Council and the S-294 consortium of produce researchers.

Each year, this well-attended event brings showgoers the "best of the best" in cutting-edge practical research, and this year is no exception. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Dr. Alan Lefcourt will present a new, real-time technology for detecting contamination in fields that is more sensitive than the human eye and can be coupled with harvesting operations. Also, Dr. Mark Morgan will report on Purdue University’s research on the potential for chlorine dioxide gas to be a reliable kill step for pathogens in fresh and fresh-cut produce.

For more information about the science and research opportunities you can find at United Fresh 2010, please contact Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology at 202-303-3400 ext. 411.

Just Four More Chances to Win Vegas Show Tickets! Why Haven't You Registered Yet?

Congratulations to Castellini Company's Jack Bertagna, winner of last week's United Fresh Show-A-Week Giveaway. Jack is headed to see Blue Man Group at the Venetian.

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: Phantom of the Opera

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
Maria Buffone, Sobeys – KÁ BY Cirque du Soleil

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:

  • Breakthrough Solutions LLC, Weston, Fla.
  • Custom Cuts, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • DRS/Subway, San Diego, Calif.
  • KMT Waterjet Systems, Baxter Springs, Kan.
  • SMURFIT-STONE Container Corporation, Arroyo Grande, Calif.
  • United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas

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

Teacher eats school lunch for a year, blogs – ABC News

Searching for food in the land of plenty – Southern California Public Radio

A new threshold for food safety – Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

New York Senate Ag Committee may vote on state farm labor bill – WRVO-FM

Transportation waiver to help farmers – St. Joseph News-Press


European Parliament committee votes in favor of country-of-origin labels – Horticulture Week

Tomato shortage to help Ontario greenhouse growers – Brantford Expositor

4.6 percent of Cypriot foodstuffs tainted with excessive chemicals – Cyprus Mail

Canadian food inspectors struggle to meet new demands – CTV

Traceability is the new concern for exporters – Guelph Mercury

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