July 22, 2010

In Today's Issue:

DC Bilingual School a Prime Example of Popularity of School Salad Bars

A fully-stocked salad bar awaits students at Washington's D.C. Bilingual School.

It's lunchtime at Washington’s D.C. Bilingual School and young students eagerly file past the salad bar, piling their plates with romaine lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, red and green peppers. The salad bar, donated by United's A Salad Bar In Every School campaign through a generous contribution by Dole Food Company, was put into service at the school this spring. Several D.C. school nutrition officials joined United Fresh staff on a visit to the school Wednesday.

"We continue to be inspired by the commitment of DC Bilingual School leaders to improving child nutrition, serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, and engaging the teachers and families," said United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra. "The salad bar really complements all of their activities to improve the eating habits of their students."

A D.C. Bilingual School student piles her plate with salad from the school's new salad bar, donated by Dole and United’s A Salad Bar in Every School campaign.

Last spring, after hearing about the success of the salad bar at Washington's Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School, D.C. Bilingual School Director Julia Barros contacted United Fresh and asked for a similar donation for her school. A year-round school serving more than 250 children in summer school, D.C. Bilingual received their salad bar in May and it has been in operation every school day since it arrived.

Later this summer, new salad bars will arrive at three Washington, D.C. public schools and two additional area charter schools, thanks to contributions by Dole and salad bar manufacturers Cambro and Vollrath. In total, seven D.C.-area schools will have new salad bars donated by the Salad Bar in Every School campaign, serving more than 2,400 students.

In addition to the seven current and planned salad bar donations, D.C.'s Director of Wellness Services and Nutrition, Dr. Sandra Schlicker, has provided United Fresh with a priority list of other DC public and charter schools that would like salad bars. Additional produce industry contributions to the Salad Bar in Every School campaign can be put to immediate use in Washington and in other cities with which United is working to improve children’s eating habits. For additional information, please contact Dr. DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403.         

United Fresh Offers Suggestions on 2010 Dietary Guidelines

United Fresh provided written comments to USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services last week on the report issued by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The DGAC's report forms the basis of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines due to be published by USDA and HHS by the end of this year.

Overall, United Fresh supported the DGAC report and commended the committee for making recommendations that were outside the traditional Dietary Guidelines “box.” Additionally, United Fresh offered detailed recommendations to USDA and HHS that focused on four priority areas:

  1. Provide clear, strong, compelling and actionable messages to consumers to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and other necessary dietary changes
  2. Use the "Half Your Plate Should Be Fruits and Vegetables" strategy to illustrate how many fruits and vegetables children and adults need to eat at every meal
  3. Commit to implementing policy and environmental changes that will create healthier food environments and systems-wide approaches.
  4. Start with Children and Commit to Action Now

United Fresh strongly supports the committee's finding that "because fruits and vegetables are under consumed by the American public, efforts are warranted to seriously promote increased intake of fruits and vegetables." United did however note that it is concerned that many of the dietary recommendations - such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake - have been made in prior reports, yet consumption patterns remain woefully unchanged.

For more information about the importance of strong fruit and vegetable consumer messages in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, please contact United's Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403. 

United Fresh Takes A Salad Bar in Every School Campaign to School Nutrition Association Conference

Many schools purchase fresh produce through the Dept. of Defense Fresh Program. Here the DoD Fresh Program’s exhibit booth shows off a variety of whole and fresh-cut produce items available to schools.

United's Salad Bar in Every School campaign was a hit with school foodservice directors at this year's School Nutrition Association Annual Conference in Dallas. The event is designed for school foodservice directors to learn about new food products they may want to include on their menus, as well as participate in a variety of education sessions that cover issues ranging from procurement requirements, implementing nutrition education in the classroom, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and how to develop and implement local wellness policies.

Working in the booths of the Cambro Manufacturing Company and The Vollrath Company - the two companies selected as the preferred salad bar vendors partners for the salad bar initiative - United Fresh Vice President of Business Development Claudia Wenzing and Policy and Grassroots Coordinator Andrew Marshall spoke with foodservice directors about the campaign, described the two salad bar models being offered and helped to raise awareness of the effectiveness of school salad bars in increasing student’s consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The pair also visited with United Fresh member companies exhibiting in "Produce Row," representatives from USDA and several well-known school food leaders that have already have taken steps to increase children’s access to fresh produce in their school meals.

"The SNA show was helpful in getting a better understanding of the school food environment," said Wenzing. "It was interesting to hear from school foodservice personnel about their desire to serve more fresh produce, as well as hear about some of their challenges and successes with introducing their students to more fresh fruits and vegetables. There was a lot of interest in salad bar campaign, and several foodservice directors purchased salad bars that included United's campaign signage at the show."

For more information, please contact Wenzing or Marshall. Both can also be reached at 202-303-3400.

Neenan Discusses Climate Change on Denver Panel

United Fresh Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Rob Neenan travelled to Denver this week to participate in a public outreach meeting conducted by USDA and several other federal agencies. The meetings were meant to identify how the federal government can help farmers and ranchers plan for and adapt to changing global climate patterns.

Neenan was one of several agriculture industry representatives invited to participate in panel discussions and to respond to some of the proposed actions by the federal agencies. Neenan and his colleagues on the panel stressed the importance of clear and consistent climate change policies at the state and federal level, the need for more research to assess the impacts of climate change on various crops and regions, and the development of adaptation tools such as more drought resistant and salt tolerant crop varieties.

USDA and its partner agencies will be reporting final recommendations to the White House in October. For more information, please contact Neenan at 202-303-3400, ext. 427.

Leadership Class 16 Gets Moving with a Tour of the Pacific Northwest

Members of Leadership Class 16 visit Seattle's famed Pike Place Market.

The 16th class of United's Produce Industry Leadership Program launched its year-long program last week with visits to United Fresh member companies in Washington State, as well as participating in leadership and public speaking training. The visits allowed members of the class to learn about business challenges facing different sectors of the produce industry, to expand their network of industry colleagues and to learn more about important issues facing the industry as a whole.

"We are fortunate to have so many industry leaders who are willing to share their biggest challenges and achievements so candidly with the leadership fellows," said Julie Jacocks, education manager at United Fresh. "Likewise, the leadership class members themselves are professionals from a broad cross-section of the produce industry and represent different regions, industry segments and commodities. Because of this, they are able to talk together as colleagues rather than competitors. The bonding process within the class is what truly makes this program so special."

United Fresh thanks Charlie's Produce, Crunch Pak, Stemilt, Northwest Horticultural Council, Domex, Tree Top, Skone & Connors, Valley Fruit and River Point Farms for opening their facilities and sharing their views with the leadership class last week.

The Produce Industry Leadership Program is presented through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Development and is made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, sponsor of the program since its inception in 1995. For more information, contact Jacocks at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

PAIR Teleconference Features FDA Experts, Insight into Mexican Trade

As part of the Produce Partnership Among Industry and Regulators (PAIR), an effort to keep the industry and FDA up-to-date on each other's fresh produce food safety activities, United Fresh and the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas co-hosted a teleconference this week between fresh produce trade associations and FDA.

FPAA's Lance Jungmeyer and Allison Moore started the meeting by outlining some of the technical and regulatory hurdles being faced by FPAA members, particularly regarding imports and testing. Additionally, Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center for Produce Safety, provided updates on CPS’ recent research conference and opened up an opportunity for the industry to add to or comment on the list of research needs being accumulated by CPS. United Fresh Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology Dr. David Gombas briefed the group on the progress of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative.

The regulatory portion of the teleconference featured an international focus with officials from Mexico's SENASICA, who described an ongoing effort to develop fresh produce standards for produce operations in and importing to Mexico. Led by Dr. Michelle Smith, FDA officials provided updates on development of the proposed rule for fresh produce safety, noting that tomorrow, July 23, is the deadline to their open comment period. As part of the development process, FDA also reported on an outreach survey that collected information about GAPs awareness and compliance among fresh produce growers. FDA's Dr. Jim Gorny provided an update on the Reportable Food Registry, noting that FDA tentatively plans to hold a teleconference next week to describe some of the findings of and future plans for the RFR. Finally, FDA officials outlined an ongoing research project to collect samples of bagged leafy greens and tomatoes from retail markets across the nation and test them for select pathogens. Gorny described this as a baseline study that FDA can use in future years to measure the benefits of the fresh produce rule and industry efforts to improve food safety.

For more information about the PAIR call or any of the topics discussed, please contact Dr. Gombas at 202-303-3400, ext. 411.

Web Conference Kicks Off Efforts of TWG Operations Committee

Beginning their work toward developing the policies and procedures for use of the GAPs Harmonized Standard when it is completed later this year, more than twenty members of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Operations Committee met for the this week by web conference.

"I was pleased by the level of participation among produce business leaders," said Committee Chair Dave Corsi of Wegmans. "We began discussing some of the key issues, and I’m optimistic this group will make significant progress at our first face-to-face meeting in August."

Topics discussed include ownership of the standard, how auditors will be calibrated or certified in its use, and how to achieve global recognition, such as by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The Committee will meet again August 24 at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott.  Please contact United's Erin Grether at 202-303-3400, ext. 402 for information.

This Week's Featured Products from AllThingsProduce.com

The virtual marketplace for the fresh produce industry.

613-VS2 Multi-Slicer | Grote Company, Inc.
Grote’s 613-VS2 Multi-Slicer performs a variety of slicing applications, including bulk slicing, stacking, and shingling into ...
Celox Grading and Sorting Equipment | Ag-Pak, Inc.
The Celox OPTICAL sizing and grading system accurately views 100% of each discrete product unit. The patented design is unlike ...
Chiquita Pineapple Bites | Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Chiquita Pineapple Bites are 100% Natural On-The-Go snacks that provide 1 full serving of fruit. Convenient and nutritious ...
Eat Smart Slaws Apio, Inc.
Four great tasting slaws from Eat Smart provide a more nutritious option to lettuce-based salads. Here’s your chance to offer ...
Food Service Misionero Organic Salads | Misionero Vegetables
Spring, Spinach, Arugula 1.5#-3# bags. Triple Washed Ready to Eat. 100% Usable, Fixed Price, 16 day shelf life ...
Knife peeler for potatoes type MS-1T | Sormac B.V.
Continuous knife peeler MS-1TThe Sormac knife peelers MS are suitable for continuous peeling of pre-washed or pre-peeled root ...
Produce Business Ethnic Guidebook | Produce Business
With the advent of recent demographic shifts around the country, supermarkets face the challenge of providing produce solutions ...
Purshade | Purfresh, Inc.
Excellent solar stress protection• Excellent reflectance of both UV andinfrared radiation• Allows photosynthetic light to pass ...
Recall Management | TraceGains, Inc. 
Helps identify the root cause of problems and non-compliance so that you can recall only truly affected goods at the case- or ...

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

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:

  • NatureSeal, Westport, CT

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:

  • Junction Solutions, Alpharetta, GA
  • Oregon Potato Commission, Portland, OR
  • Savory Sweet, LLC, Parma, ID

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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