June 24, 2010

In Today's Issue:

Amid World Cup Fever, United Fresh Leaders Kick Off Fresh Convenience Congress in London

United Fresh Chairman of the Board Steffanie Smith addresses attendees at this week's Fresh Convenience Congress in London.

United Fresh Chairman Steffanie Smith and United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel launched the inaugural Fresh Convenience Congress Wednesday, focusing on the role of fruits and vegetables within the prepared and fresh convenience segments.

The Congress was established in partnership with Market Intelligence, publishers of Eurofruit Magazine, and provided attendees with educational sessions exploring foodservice, retail and mass catering opportunities at mainstream venues such as sporting events and concerts, which represent new channel development and increased consumption on a global scale. Additional sessions looked at food safety and traceability for the fresh-cut produce and emerging fresh convenience sectors of the industry.

In addition to Smith and Stenzel, multiple United Fresh members addressed the Congress, including board member Paddy Callaghan of Nature's Best, who spoke on the offerings of the fresh-cut convenience sector to retail operations, and Alessandro Turatti of Turatti Srl, Bas Groeneweg of PerfoTec B.V., and FTNON's Wilco Fauth, who combined on a session dedicated to packaging and processing equipment innovations.

In her address, Chairman Smith encouraged attendees to "look closely at [their] internal processes to increase yield and quality, communicate effectively with your customers to meet their needs and seek unique opportunities in new product development no matter what business sector or commodity you represent within the industry."

United Fresh Vice President of Membership Jeff Oberman sports an American World Cup soccer jersey during this week's Fresh Convenience Congress. The Congress was suspended Wednesday afternoon to allow attendees to watch the English and American soccer teams play in the final match of the World Cup's group stage.

Additional United Fresh presence included Jeff Oberman, United's vice president of membership and staff liaison for the Fresh-Cut Processor Board, who moderated the packaging and machinery innovation session and in a bold move, donned an American World Cup soccer jersey for that day's final group stage match against Algeria, as well as Miriam Miller, United's director of membership and staff liaison for the Wholesale-Distributor Board who networked with UK- and EU-based distributors in attendance.

For more information about the Fresh Convenience Congress, visit www.freshconveniencecongress.com or contact Jeff Oberman at 831-422-0940   

Neenan Discusses Carbon Trading and Offsets at Symposium

United Fresh Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Rob Neenan spoke during a symposium last Thursday on climate change and the potential for agriculture to participate in carbon trading.

Several voluntary carbon markets have been developed in recent years and protocols have been developed to facilitate the certification and trading of carbon offsets. These are voluntary carbon offset trading programs with a limited level of participation by the agricultural sector.

"If federal climate change legislation is enacted that mandates the development of a national cap-and-trade program this may present both significant opportunities and challenges for growers," said United Fresh Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Rob Neenan. "Selling carbon offsets could provide a new revenue stream for agriculture, but the cost of establishing and verifying carbon offset protocols can be substantial and it is not clear whether the value of the offsets will generate enough revenue to warrant the expense and effort by growers."

For more information on United's efforts on climate change, contact Neenan at 202-303-3400, ext. 427.

WPPC Brings Food Safety Message to Capitol Hill

More than ever, food safety is top-of-mind for many members of the 111th Congress. The House of Representatives has passed a food safety bill and companion legislation is awaiting Senate action that would fundamentally change the way food is regulated in the United States.

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to move forward with regulatory proposals that will affect how produce is grown, how produce is tracked through distribution channels, what and where produce is tested, and who is responsible for managing outbreak investigations.

"The changes proposed in the legislation that has passed the House and now awaits debate in the Senate, as well as the decisions made at FDA will impact production, harvesting, handling, processing and shipping," said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther. "It is critical that each member of the fresh and fresh-cut produce industry is fully committed to making a difference on this critical issue."

At the upcoming Washington Public Policy Conference, industry members will have the opportunity to take this message directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, FDA officials and representatives from the Obama Administration.

"The success of the produce industry on the food safety front hinges on events like the Washington Public Policy Conference," said Guenther. "As an association, we can work for policy that is science-based, commodity-specific and risk-based, and make a great deal of progress, but we'll never be as effective without active, concerned constituents helping to bring this message to Washington."

For more information on the Washington Public Policy Conference, click here or call 202-303-3400.

Medfly Outbreak Hits South Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced late last week that during routine fruit fly monitoring, a trap containing suspect Mediterranean fruit flies -- or Medflies -- was collected in Boca Raton. Since the initial find, more than 2000 additional traps have been set out and more wild flies have been detected. The flies have been found on traps in mango, loquat and sour orange trees.

"This is a disturbing find," said Commissioner Charles Bronson. "We, along with our federal partners, are mobilizing all available personnel to the area to begin intensive trapping and to address survey, control, regulatory, public information and environmental monitoring. This is a dangerous pest and we will commit the necessary resources to control this recent outbreak."

According to the Department, this represents the first major outbreak of Medfly since 1997. To address the current outbreak of Medflies, additional traps are being placed in an 81-square-mile area around each positive find.

The Medfly is considered the most serious of the world's fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm and threat to our food supply. It attacks more than 250 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons, apples, guava, mango, tomatoes and peppers. The flies' eggs are laid in the fruit and develop into maggots causing the fruit to rot. They then emerge as adults once the fruit falls to the ground. Medflies breed continuously when host fruits are available. Population growth may be explosive, as females are capable of producing hundreds of eggs.

State and federal agencies will work with local governments to keep the public involved and to provide updated and accurate information. More information, including maps of the infested areas and detailed information on the Medfly, can be found by clicking here. You can also call the department's toll-free help number at 888-397-1517.

Washington Industry Stresses Customization During Traceability Session

Sixty members of potato and onion industries in Washington State gathered in Chelan this week, exchanging feedback on traceability and the Produce Traceability Initiative with United Fresh Vice President of Supply Chain Management Dan Vaché.

"Despite the individual challenges, the potato and onion industries in Washington understand the need for -- and the current market shift toward -- whole-chain traceability" said Vaché. "So many of the attendees this week are wholesalers, and as such, need a concentrated and customized approach to traceability that takes into account the intricacies of that particular market segment."

Similarly, shippers represented at the meetings voiced a need to have "… a level playing field for those who take traceability seriously and are willing to make the investment."

Vaché also reported that overall, attendees were pleased with the recent adjustments made to the PTI milestones, as well as the addition of GS1 US as a partner.

"The best thing about this group," commented Vaché, "is that they understand the value of solid, strategic government relations, and the need for a united industry to help drive and shape issues like food safety, traceability, child nutrition and more."

For more on traceability and United's efforts in the area, visit www.producetraceability.org, or contact Vaché at 202-303-3400.

This Week's Featured Products from AllThingsProduce.com

3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring Systems | 3M Food Safety
Easily implemented into your hygiene monitoring and HACCP programs, the 3M Clean-Trace ATP and Protein tests offer rapid and ...
GPS-embedded, all-time, real-time traceable pallet ...
Automatic carrot topper/piece cutter WOS-1A | Sormac B.V.
The WOS-1A carrot topper and piece cutter consists of a number of chain-mounted flights, one base plate and 2 aligning belts ...
Beefsteak Tomatoes | Clifford Produce Sales
Handpicked at their peak and delivered fresh to your store. This process ensures a premium product on your shelf. Farm fresh ...
Broccoli Cole Slaw | Mann Packing Company
The original Broccoli Cole Slaw! Tender hearts of fresh broccoli with a splash of carrots and red cabbage for color and flavor ...
Eat Smart Organics | Apio, Inc.
Certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Apio, Inc. now offers a variety of our most popular fresh cut ...
Facility HealthCheck | Ingersoll-Rand Industrial Refrigeration, Inc.
FHC Facility HealthCheck program delivers comprehensive, predictive, state-of-the-art diagnostic services for your entire ...
Pumpkin Patch Pals ® Paint Kits | AMF Farms, Inc.
A true, smooth-skinned pumpkin in a mesh grab-&-go bag (includes a non-toxic paint pot strip/brush in each bag). Approximately ...
Stretch/Shrink Machinery | West Coast Supplies Corporation
West Coast Supplies sells a full line of stretch and shrink-wrapping equipment. We offer an entry-level turntable ...

For more information about how to feature your products and solutions on www.allthingsproduce.com contact Jill Grigg at 202-303-3420.

New Member Welcome

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

  • Westlake Produce Company, Los Angeles, CA

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.

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:

  • Cut Fresh LLC, Milwaukee, WI

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.

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