May 13, 2010

In Today's Issue:

United Partners with AMI, FMI for 2012 Show in Dallas

The American Meat Institute (AMI), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), and United Fresh have announced the co-location of their premier trade shows – the FMI Exhibit and Education Event, the AMI International Meat Poultry and Seafood Convention and Exposition, and United Fresh - beginning in 2012 at Texas' Dallas Convention Center. 

The AMI Expo will be held April 30-May 3, 2012, and the FMI Exhibit and Education Event and United Fresh will be held May 1-3, 2012. 

The three shows will offer their own exhibit halls, as well as unique education programming for their own attendees. The partners will explore potential joint programming and networking events. This marks a reunion between the FMI Show and United Fresh, but it is the first co-location of either group with the AMI Expo. This co-location creates an event that connects the meat processing, fruit and vegetable, and retail industries to create synergy for all exhibitors and attendees.

"We are thrilled to launch an event that will encompass all aspects of the industry in one location to provide a continuation of our commitment to bring trading partners together, foster collaboration and build a strong industry community," said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer. "This co-location provides the opportunity to foster leadership education opportunities that span across the industry and bring more depth and increased value to retailers from the front-lines to company headquarters."

AMI President and CEO Patrick Boyle welcomed the partnership opportunity.  "Now, in addition to state-of-the art technology and cutting-edge education, AMI packer processors have a third compelling reason to attend the AMI Convention and Exposition-thousands of their retail customers in one place," Boyle said. "Attendees will benefit from a wide array of joint educational programming.  Exhibitors at all three shows will take advantage of the expanded marketing opportunity and additional traffic on the show floor."

"We're pleased to once again co-locate the United Fresh 2012 Fresh Marketplace and FreshTech expos with FMI based on the very positive experience of attendees at both of our shows in the past," said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United fresh, which will hold its standalone 2011 show in New Orleans, May 2-5. "With AMI, we’ll now have an even stronger platform for increasing the attendee value proposition for all three events."

The FMI Education and Exhibit Event is the largest and most comprehensive food industry conference and exposition in North America, attracting approximately 450 exhibitors and more than 10,000 attendees from close to 100 countries representing the retail industry, including supermarket retailers, independent operators, wholesalers, mass merchants, distributors and suppliers. The AMI Expo attracts more than 450 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees from 100 countries at all levels of the meat and poultry industry, including executives, plant managers, purchasing agents, engineers, researchers and operations managers. The United Fresh show will attract 300 exhibitors and 5,000 individual attendees. 

United Takes Salad Bar Message to Cincinnati

Students and administrators from Cincinnati's Academy of World Languages receive the ceremonial salad tongs from Chiquita Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre, fifth from right, and United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel, far left. On hand for the donation and dedication were U.S. Representatives Steve Driehaus, fourth from left, and Jean Schmidt, third from right.

In cooperation with Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands, United Fresh traveled to the Queen City last week for the dedication of a new salad bar as part of the United Fresh Foundation's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign. In a bipartisan show of support for the initiative, U.S. Representatives Steve Driehaus (D-OH-1) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2) cheered the dedication during a special ceremony at Cincinnati's Academy of World Languages on Monday, May 10. Joining Reps. Driehaus and Schmidt at the event was Chiquita Brands Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) Superintendent Mary Ronan and United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel.  

From left, U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt (OH-2), Chiquita Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre, Academy of World Languages Principal Jackie Rowedder, U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus (OH-1), United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel, and Miss Chiquita Banana Alisa Nesta during Monday's ceremonial dedication of a school salad bar to the Academy of World Languages in Cincinnati. The donation was part of the United Fresh Foundation's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign.

In addition to the new salad bar at the Academy of World Languages, salad bars were added at Cincinnati's Carson Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Montessori and John P. Parker Elementary Schools. Three of the salad bars were provided by the Salad Bar in Every School campaign in cooperation with Chiquita, while the fourth salad bar was purchased by CPS.

"This program is a tremendous opportunity for kids to make healthy choices in their daily diet," said Rep. Schmidt. "The United Fresh Foundation's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign is a great first step to fight obesity and start our children on the path to a healthy diet and a healthy life."

"Access to healthy fruits and vegetables is a key component in helping kids lead healthy, active lifestyles," said Rep. Driehaus.  "I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of the Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act which will help put in place the tools needed to make this a reality for more kids in Cincinnati Public Schools and across the nation."

Launched in February 2010 by the United Fresh Foundation, the Salad Bar in Every School campaign is a multi-year public health commitment from the fresh produce industry designed to bring fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. In addition, the enhanced spotlight provided by First Lady Michelle Obama's"Let's Move" campaign provides a unique and timely opportunity to promote school salad bars throughout the country and for the Congress to pass the Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009.

Flanked by Academy of World Languages students, Principal Jackie Rowedder, center, speaks Monday’s ceremonial dedication of a school salad bar to the Cincinnati school. The donation was part of the United Fresh Foundation’s A Salad Bar in Every School campaign.

"Promoting better childhood nutrition and wellness in our hometown schools is a great way to give back to our community," said Aguirre.  "Improved access to fruits and vegetables with school salad bars is a winning proposition for our kids and schools. We are proud to be part of this bipartisan effort and are committed to expanding this initiative."

"I love the idea of 'a salad bar in every school,' and I want to thank Chiquita and United Fresh for helping to make that a reality," said Ronan. "By encouraging our students to make salads for lunch with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, we’ll be teaching healthy eating habits that will keep students alert in classes and serve them well all their lives."

"It is important for students to have increased access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables," said Stenzel. "United Fresh has a long track record of success increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for children. Alongside the $1 billion federal commitment to national expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable School Snack Program and the launch of more than $750 million annually in fruit and vegetable vouchers for moms and children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Salad Bar in Every School campaign truly has the produce industry poised to make a difference."

White House Obesity Recommendations Continue Push in Right Direction

A recent report, issued Tuesday by the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, calls for dramatic changes in the nation's food system as part of an initiative by the administration to curb childhood obesity in the United States.

"On the nutrition side, it's an ambitious but thoughtful analysis of the challenges our nation faces and it echoes much of what we’ve been saying on nutrition and feeding program policy," said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther.

Currently, Americans consume merely half of the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables, and in order to counter this trend, the task force has recommended in the report that the nation's fruit and vegetable producers increase their acreage and output significantly over the next 10 years. Guenther points out that it may not be that simple.

"A unilateral increase in fresh perishables production would likely not translate into a sustainable price decrease or greater availability," said Guenther. "Fresh produce growers know too well that the supply/demand balance is highly volatile. There are numerous examples of growers increasing acreage on a commodity only to suffer losses when the market prices dropped dramatically. Consumers don't necessarily buy more in a direct correlation to affordability. Also, the acreage for fruit and vegetable production is dynamic, changing with each season as growers cope with market conditions and production challenges."

Guenther observed that while the end goal of the recommendations is certainly noble and in lock-step with the produce industry's priority of healthier kids, the drive to raise consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables to the currently recommended levels remains United's primary objective.

"Getting all Americans to eat the recommended servings per day of fruit and vegetables may be a more modest goal," he said, "but it remains the most direct route to improving the health of people across the country." 

USDA Announces Availability of TASC Program Funding

This week, USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation announced that it will accept proposals from private sector companies and government agencies interested in applying for funds available through the 2011 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program.

"The TASC program is very important to our industry's efforts to expand access to international markets," said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther. "It is one of the key USDA programs that the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance worked to get funded in the previous Farm Bill and, as we turn our attention to developing priorities for the next Farm Bill, it will once again be atop our list."

Administered by the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS), the TASC program assists U.S. companies or organizations by "providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary or related technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops."

Proposals are due by June 11, with funds scheduled to be awarded in October of this year. For more in depth information about the TASC program, including examples of TASC projects, award information, application submission, review and administration, please refer to the Federal Register announcement here. Those wishing to apply for funding assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Services at (202) 720-4327 or

For additional questions about the TASC program, contact Robert at (202) 303-3400 or

Last Chance to Register for Fresh-Cut HACCP Short Course at the University of Georgia

Next week, United Fresh is partnering with University of Georgia on the Fresh-Cut HACCP Short Course workshop designed to establish an in-plant HACCP program for the fresh-cut produce industry. 

The three-day course, May 18-20, 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. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

In the hands-on laboratory participation, participants will learn which microbial testing tools to use to document and verify company sanitation programs, how to interpret microbial results and which standardized procedures are best for consistent microbial analysis in testing fresh-cut produce.

The goal of the interactive sessions is to assist participants in developing a Food Safety Plan that they can implement in their specific operations.

As an added bonus, this year's course is now accredited by the International HACCP Alliance, and successful completion of the course and exam will provide course attendees with HACCP certification.

For more information or to register, click here or call 706-542-2574 or email

Registration Open for 2010 Washington Public Policy Conference

United Fresh is proud to announce the opening of registration for the 2010 Washington Public Policy Conference, September 14-16 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.  

The conference is the largest gathering of the produce industry in the nation's capital and offers members a unique look into the inner workings of Washington. At the three-day event, attendees will have the chance to discuss industry priorities, visit with Obama Administration officials, 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, or contact Angela Bezon, United Fresh political affairs manager at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.

USDA Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced that the department's Office of Rural Development is accepting grant applications to assist small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas.

"Helping small agricultural producers better market their products creates economic opportunity and these grants will help small business owners add profit and efficiency to their operations so they can grow and create jobs," Vilsack said.

Approximately $3.5 million in grants are available with funding awarded through the Office of Rural Development's Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program. The grants are part of the department's ongoing effort to expand outreach to rural residents to ensure that all communities have equal access to USDA programs and services. Funding is available to cooperatives or associations of cooperatives where at least 75 percent of the governing board or membership has annual gross agricultural product sales of $250,000 or less in the last three years. Grants can be used for product improvements, business plan development or economic development activities.

Applications for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants are due July 27. Application materials may be obtained by clicking here or by contacting the USDA Rural Development State Office. For additional information, please click here.

Webinar Explores How to Sell to USDA

Next week, USDA will lead a free webinar teaching producers and industry members the ins and outs of selling fresh fruits and vegetables to USDA.

The webinar will be held Friday, May 21, at 1:00 pm EDT. Organized as part of the Red Book Credit Services series of educational webinars titled Red Book University and lead by the USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service Commodity Procurement Branch, the program will review how fruits and vegetables are purchased by USDA for its domestic food programs, including the National School Lunch Program. With more than $478 million spent on close to 1 billion pounds of product each year, webinar attendees will gain valuable information about how to sell to the USDA, and why certain items are purchased.  

Parties interested in participating may complete this form and email it to Olga Kehmeier at Red Book Credit Services or contact her directly at 800-252-1925 ext. 744. For information about additional Red Book University webinars, click here.

Long-Time United Staffer Ginny Pugh to Retire

Membership Manager and nine-year United Fresh veteran Ginny Pugh will call it a career this week, retiring with her husband Bob to their riverfront home on the Virginia shore.

"Ginny has been a stalwart member of our team for nearly a decade," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "Always helping out where most needed, Ginny has seen the growth and progress of United Fresh over the past nine years and we wish her all the best in retirement."

Ginny’s last day with United Fresh is May 14.

Chairman's Roundtable Thanks 2010 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 2010 Chairman's Roundtable:

  • First Fruits Marketing of Washington, Yakima, WA

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 Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of 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 202-303-3400 ext. 410.

New Member Welcome

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

  • GLOBALGAP, Köln, Germany
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA

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 Obama plan calls for more government action on obesity – McClatchy Washington Bureau

Schumer hoping to grow more money on trees with apple bill – WXXI-AM

DC students change habits—one fruit, veggie at a time – Washington Post

Farmers: Immigration reform needed for ag workers – AP

Lettuce recall doesn't hide progress on food safety, experts say – Christian Science Monitor


Progress made in food safety issues, says Maltese Health Minister – Times of Malta

Hondurans visit Fresno amid AgJOBS push – Fresno Bee

Inflation threatens to slow down China's fast-running economy – The Globe and Mail

In Brunei, a higher risk of cancer from obesity, poor diet – BruDirect

Farm to aamchi Mumbai – The Hindu Business Line

Tell a Friend About Inside United Fresh, or tell us how we can make it better.