July 8, 2010

In Today's Issue:

DiSogra Testifies at 2010 Dietary Guidelines Meeting

United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra provided oral testimony today on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's Report at a public meeting at USDA. Dr. DiSogra was one of 50 people to testify on the expert committee's recommendations that will form the basis of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines due to be published later this year.

In her testimony, Dr. DiSogra commended the committee's strong recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, emphasis on policy and environmental changes to create healthier food environments, and urgent need to focus on children to prevent childhood obesity. 

Additionally, Dr. DiSogra recommended that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines provide clear, strong and compelling consumer education messages that motivate individuals to increase their fruit and vegetable intake, as well as utilize a "Half Your Plate Should Be Fruits and Vegetables" strategy to graphically illustrate and communicate the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended for good health.

DiSogra also recommended that CDC collaborate with USDA to develop strong consumer messages and that the secretaries of USDA and HHS work together to implement system-wide policy, regulatory and environmental changes to create food environments that make it easier for Americans to eat a healthier diet. Highlighting the benefits of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and school salad bars, Dr. DiSogra noted that these effective strategies for increasing children’s fruit and vegetable intake should be expanded to schools nationally. United Fresh will also be submitting written testimony.

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

New on United Fresh.TV: United Chairman Steffanie Smith Shares Impressions from USDA/EPA Meeting on Residues and Other Issues

In a video posted on United Fresh.TV, United Fresh President Tom Stenzel and
Chairman Steffanie Smith discuss the pair's June meeting with
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Authorities at USDA and EPA must "immediately react" to stories in the news media about purported risks associated with pesticide residues - that was the message that United Chairman Steffanie Smith and President Tom Stenzel delivered to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in June.

In a video interview available at United Fresh.TV, Chairman Smith provides details about the high-level meeting and how United Fresh is urging federal officials to work with the industry on a variety of issues, including faster registration for crop protection tools, credit access, immigration reform and support for small-to-middle sized fruit and vegetable farms.

Visit the United Fresh.TV site for the informative interview with Chairman Smith, as well as a preview of the upcoming Washington Public Policy Conference, which will include information focusing on pesticide issues, locally grown, food safety, farm labor and other industry priorities.

For more information about United Fresh.TV, please contact Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of communications, at 202-303-3400, ext. 425. For more information about the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Bezon, United Fresh political affairs manager, at 202-303-3400, ext. 416.

EPA Initiates Review of Simazine-Related Herbicide

Due to intense ongoing pressure from several environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated a new review of atrazine, a herbicide used widely by corn and sorghum farmers to control weeds. EPA is focusing on recent laboratory animal and human epidemiology studies, including a controversial study regarding the impact of atrazine exposure on frogs.

Atrazine, propazine and simazine, which is used by many citrus, table grape, and tree nut growers, comprise the triazine group of registered herbicides.

If, as a result of the review, EPA chooses to ban the use of atrazine, the registrant has indicated that it will likely also cease production of simazine as it will no longer be cost effective to manufacture. The Triazine Network, a coalition of commodity and specialty crop groups, is working to maintain the registration for atrazine to ensure that farmers have the tools that they need. United will be working with the Triazine Network to closely monitor this issue.

For more information, contact Rob Neenan, United Fresh vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability at 202-303-3400, ext. 427.

Salad Bar Campaign Hits Facebook

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to visit the Facebook page for United's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign. The page on Facebook, the world's largest social networking community, can be found by clicking here. The page is designed to build both industry and public awareness and support for the salad bar initiative, which in recent months has donated salad bars in several states.

"Social media sites like Facebook are a fantastic consensus-builder for charitable initiatives," said Patrick Delaney, United's communications manager. "The more support we are able to build for healthier kids through the A Salad Bar in Every School campaign, the louder our collective voice becomes and the more positive change we can affect."

United's A 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. For more information on the campaign, visit www.unitedfresh.org and click on the Salad Bar in Every School campaign logo link.

Stenzel Named to International Federation for Produce Standards Board

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel has been named to the Board of Directors for the International Federation for Produce Standards in Peterborough, United Kingdom. IFPS is comprised of produce associations from around the world.

"As United Fresh continues to strive to offer the best service to our members across the globe, I am honored and excited to serve on the IFPS board and I am looking forward to the added international perspective that it will provide for our members," said Stenzel.

More information on IFPS can be found at www.plucodes.com.

Only Two Weeks Remain to Apply For Family Business Scholarship Program

Time is running out for those employed by a family-owned, United Fresh member business to apply for the 2010 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program.

This one-of-a-kind program is designed to increase family business involvement in produce industry advocacy by expanding opportunities for representatives from family businesses to attend United's Washington Public Policy Conference (WPPC), September 14-16 in Washington, D.C. The program was established in 2001 and is made possible through a generous grant from Frieda's, Inc.

Up to four scholarships for employees of family-owned businesses will be awarded in 2010. Scholarship recipients will receive complimentary airfare, two nights hotel accommodation and registration for the conference.

To apply for a 2010 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship, participants must complete an application form and written submission detailing why they want to attend the WPPC and what they hope to gain from the experience. Applicants for the scholarship must be employed by a family-owned, United Fresh member business in good standing. The application can be downloaded here and must be received by July 26.

For more information about the scholarship program, please contact United Fresh Education Coordinator Julie Jacocks at or 202-303-3405, and for more information about the WPPC, or to register today, contact United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400, ext. 416.

United’s Produce Inspection Training Program Returns

United Fresh and USDA have again partnered to present the popular Produce Inspection Training Program, September 20-24 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors' Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Va.

This specialized training course is developed into two courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Fundamentals of Produce Inspection, a prerequisite for the Commodity Labs course, is a classroom-based program that covers the fundamentals of produce inspections such as grading, standards, tolerances, PACA and sampling procedures.

The 3-day Commodity Labs course focuses on hands-on commodity inspections in the lab. Each advanced course includes inspection of the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes. Plus, in addition to these five, each course will be customized with up to ten additional commodities based on the attendees' most common preferences.

"From growers to retailers, if you receive, handle, buy, ship, or sell produce, this course is for you," said Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator. "The two-day fundamentals course provides knowledge that anyone who handles produce needs to have, while the commodity labs course enriches and reinforces that knowledge utilizing hands-on lab-based training with USDA's own trainers."

Click here for more information and a downloadable registration form or contact Jacocks at or 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

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:

  • San Miguel Produce, Oxnard, CA
  • Village Farms, Eatontown, NJ

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:

  • Frug I Com, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
  • J-C Distributing, Inc., Nogales, AZ
  • The Norwegian Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers, Oslo, Norway
  • South African Table Grape Industry, Paarl, South Africa
  • U.S. Foodservice, Rosemont, IL

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.

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