November 11, 2010

In Today's Issue:

Manning, Carville Highlight United Fresh 2011 in New Orleans

United Fresh proudly announced yesterday the opening of registration for United Fresh 2011. Members from all points in the fresh produce supply chain will converge on New Orleans this spring for the event, which will feature a keynote address from Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning, as well as an intimate, one-on-one discussion between CNN political analyst James Carville and United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. Playing host for United Fresh 2011, May 2-5, is New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Hilton Riverside Hotel in the city’s Central Business District.

"The produce industry is primed and ready to make a big difference in the Big Easy," said Stenzel. "Archie Manning and James Carville are two of the biggest personalities in sports and politics, and both are New Orleans fixtures, so they'll fit perfectly into the BIG Easy theme of this year's show. The annual United Fresh show has always been a venue for big solutions, big networking and big education, and we are very excited to welcome Archie and James in 2011."

In the "Winning in a Family Business" Opening Keynote Address on Tuesday, May 3, Manning will share personal stories of success, as well as insights into leadership and the importance of building teamwork on the field and within a family business. Manning will also discuss strategies for managing rivalries among competitive family members. Counted with his son Peyton as one of the 100 All-Time Greatest College Football Players, Manning was an All-American quarterback at the University of Mississippi, as well a Hall of Famer for the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

Show attendees will hear insights from one of the country's top political minds Wednesday, May 4, as Carville and Stenzel sit down for a candid exchange on the current political landscape in Washington and nationwide. During that day's Breakfast General Session, Carville will share his no-holds-barred commentary and wit on politics and current affairs, spiced with his own unique brand of optimism and humor. A Louisiana native known as the "Ragin' Cajun," Carville emerged onto the national political scene after helping to spearhead the campaign of President Bill Clinton in 1992. Carville is now a frequent contributor on CNN's "The Situation Room" and other programs.

The theme for United Fresh 2011, BIG Easy, reflects a continued dedication to all the elements that make the United Fresh show such a unique and effective business opportunity, says Stenzel.

"Year in and year out, the United Fresh show is the easiest place to find all the tools to help drive a successful business in the produce industry," he said. "With the highest concentration of decision makers in a focused and efficient show, United Fresh 2011 offers both big value and big solutions, enabling attendees and exhibitors to be more competitive with a concentration on new products, innovations in technology, food safety solutions and more, all helping to make a big difference for produce businesses at all points in the supply chain."

United Fresh 2011 brings back the most popular features of past United shows, including the highly-attended Demo Centers focused on traceability and logistics as well as food safety. Like its predecessor last year in Las Vegas, United Fresh 2011 educational programming will be tailored to each segment of the produce industry.

"With learning centers on the show floor that bring together grower-shippers,  wholesaler-distributors, fresh-cut processors and retail and foodservice operators to share ideas and develop better practices, United Fresh 2011 is focused on delivering education that's second to none," said Stenzel. "And as is the case with every United Fresh show, the experience isn't complete without first-class networking opportunities, building new business connections with friends, colleagues and industry leaders, all while celebrating the revival of this great city."

With the opening of registration for the 2011 show comes the launch of UnitedFresh2011.com, which features program information, an interactive map of the trade show floor, a schedule of events, an exhibitor list and more.

In addition to the multiple programming options and as part of the United Fresh Foundation's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign, school salad bars purchased with funds raised during United's Washington Public Policy Conference in September will be donated to New Orleans-area elementary schools.

The dates for United Fresh 2011 coincide with the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, one of the world's most renowned live music and cultural events.

"New Orleans is among the most colorful and vibrant cities in the world," said Stenzel. "With an unparalleled musical and culinary landscape, the Big Easy will assuredly offer attendees of United Fresh 2011 an experience they'll never forget."

Registration can be done online and multiple convention packages are available. An early registration discount is available for attendees who register prior to March 25. More information can be found at UnitedFresh2011.com, and regular United Fresh 2011 updates will be posted on the United Fresh Facebook page and the United Fresh Twitter feed under hashtag #United2011.

For more information on United Fresh 2011, contact United Fresh at 202-303-3400, and to inquire about exhibit space at thow, contact Convention Services Coordinator Jill Mersfelder at 202-303-3400, ext. 420.


United Fresh Joins New National Farm and Ranch Alliance to Enhance Industry Image

United Fresh has joined with 23 other farmer- and rancher-led organizations representing nearly all sectors of agriculture to enhance consumer trust in the U.S. food production system. The formation of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), announced today, marks the start of a multi-year initiative that will coordinate existing efforts and develop new programs that bolster the image of today's agriculture, including the produce industry. 

"It's been increasingly apparent that there are several agricultural programs that have been created to address misinformation and misconceptions about agricultural practices and our food supply," said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh. "This new alliance will draw upon the strength of many parts of our nation's agricultural industry and coordinate communication programs in a more focused and strategic manner."

As a charter member of the USFRA, United will help ensure that produce industry priorities are represented as the Alliance develops new initiatives. United Fresh and Western Growers Association are the only produce industry organizations within the Alliance. Organizations represented on the inaugural executive committee of the USFRA include:  American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Board, United Soybean Board and United Egg Producers.

"The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance could be the broadest and strongest coalition that has ever been formed for advancing pro-agriculture industry messages," said Ray Gilmer, United's vice president of communications. "We look forward to working closely with Alliance members to develop communication programs that enhance public awareness, bolster support of industry practices and foster an environment that allows American farmers and ranchers to operate in an economical, sustainable and responsible manner."    

Going forward, the alliance will implement research programs and develop campaigns that will launch in 2011. United Fresh will remain engaged and provide input on this landmark initiative at every stage. For more information contact Gilmer at 202-303-3400, ext. 425.


United Fresh Updates Governor of Sinaloa on Food Safety Activities

Governor-elect of the State of Sinaloa, Mario Lopez Valdez, left, and United Fresh President Tom Stenzel during Tuesday's meeting at United Fresh headquarters in Washington.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel and Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther hosted a meeting earlier this week with the governor-elect of the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Mario Lopez Valdez. The governor-elect was joined by members of his state delegation along with officials from the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

The governor-elect met with United staff to learn more about food safety activities of the industry along with an overview of what is happening regarding food safety regulatory and legislative policy in Congress and at FDA.

"We want to thank the governor-elect for visiting with us during his first official trip to the United States," said Stenzel. "We believe it is very important for him to understand that food safety is a critical issue to the welfare of the produce industry in Sinaloa. It is critical that partnerships between important growing regions in Mexico such as Sinaloa and the United States are formed now as new food safety requirements are being developed in Congress and within the Obama Administration."

The governor-elect expressed his deep appreciation of the effort to educate the produce industry both domestically and in his home state of Sinaloa about these impending new requirements.

For details on the meeting, please contact Guenther at 202-303-3400, ext. 409.


Critical Vote on Child Nutrition Expected upon Congress' Return

Congress is expected to vote on child nutrition during their post-election work period scheduled for the weeks of November 15 and November 29. United Fresh is engaged in a full-scale effort to build bipartisan support to pass the bill, including meetings with House Democratic and Republican leadership, e-mail outreach to all House members urging swift passage once Congress returns and coordination with Congressman Adam Putnam (R-FL) to host a briefing for House staff next Monday, November 15.

This past Monday, United Fresh also hosted food and beverage industry groups for a "Pass Child Nutrition" strategy meeting. Capitol Hill and major media are again raising the visibility of this issue and on Monday, November 15 at 2pm, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Top Chef star Tom Colicchio will host a Child Nutrition Virtual Town Hall to rally grassroots energy around a National Call-In push on November 15 and 16 in support of the child nutrition bill.

United Fresh has also joined forces with 1,200 other national and state organizations, including representatives from the food and beverage industry and supermarket and grocery retailers, as well as faith-based, agriculture and other child nutrition advocacy organizations to urge Congress to pass the child nutrition bill next week.

"Every vote counts," said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health. "We need 290 votes to pass child nutrition, so it's critical that the produce industry weigh in with every member of Congress to urge them to vote yes on child nutrition. This is our last chance to pass this bill during the 111th Congress and if the bill does not pass now, improving school meals and other reforms could be put on hold for five years. Passing child nutrition is a top priority for the White House and House leadership, but the mood of Congress will make a big difference."

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will benefit both the produce industry and children, improving the healthfulness of school meals by increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school lunch by $.06. The increase in the reimbursement rate is tied specifically to serving more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The bill also creates national nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, providing new marketing and sales opportunities for fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

United Fresh urges all industry members and those interested in increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption, to contact their member of Congress and urge them to vote yes on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

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


Letter to Sen. Tester Calls for Science-Based Risk Assessment

United Fresh is leading an effort this week to ensure that food safety legislation being considered in Congress is based solely on scientific standards and risk assessment. Votes on food safety legislation are possible before the 111th Congress adjourns in the next few weeks.

United has been working with organizations across the produce industry to specifically call congressional attention to concerns about an amendment proposed by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in a letter sent to Capitol Hill. Tester’s amendment would allow operations to be exempted from the requirements of the pending food safety legislation because of their size and distance from their customers. United and its coalition partners believe that such exemptions undermine the bill's overall emphasis on strengthening the current food safety system, which is critical to maintaining consumer confidence in our nation's food supply.

"While we recognize the need to provide assistance to small operations in complying with the requirements of the bill and support language in the legislation to do just that, we also believe that outright exemptions like those in the Tester Amendment don't have any scientific standing and could ultimately prove dangerous to consumers," said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther.

For more information on food safety legislation, please contact Guenther at 202-303-3400, ext. 409.


FDA, USDA, Cornell Announce Produce Safety Alliance




United Fresh is voicing its support for a new public-private initiative aimed at providing the produce industry with basic on-farm food safety knowledge in advance of proposed produce safety regulation from FDA. Announced last week, the Produce Safety Alliance is a partnership between FDA, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and Cornell University.The Alliance is a three-year, $1.15 million partnership funded by the FDA and USDA and housed at Cornell University through a grant from AMS.

"This joint venture is one that will provide key information to the industry when it comes to dealing with on-farm food safety measures," said Dr. David Gombas, United's senior vice president of food safety and technology. "We look forward to continuing United's long history of cooperative work with FDA, USDA and Cornell, and the key insight this partnership will provide for our members and the produce industry as a whole."

Key elements of the alliance's work include:

  • Developing a standardized, but multi-formatted and multi-lingual education program on GAPs and co-management
  • Creating an information bank of up-to-date scientific and technical information related to on-farm and packinghouse produce safety, environmental co-management and eventually the FDA's proposed produce safety rule
  • Launching a website to make the alliance's work and information readily accessible
  • Establishing a network of educational collaborators
  • Conducting an assessment of existing educational outreach tools to identify knowledge gaps and to provide for continuous updating
  • Working with partners on the steering committee and others to develop and deliver train-the-trainer materials and sessions

The formation of the partnership comes in advance of an expected FDA rule on the safe production, harvesting, and packing of produce. The Produce Safety Alliance is aimed at giving produce growers and packers training and educational materials and opportunities to learn about current risk-and science-based best food safety practices and future regulatory requirements.

"As we traveled around the country listening to growers and packers and soliciting their comments even before we propose a produce safety rule, we have committed ourselves to just this kind of collaborative effort," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor. "We also know that small growers and packers are especially interested in the kind of hands-on training and support envisioned by the alliance."

For more information on the Produce Safety Alliance, contact United Fresh at 202-303-3400.


United Fresh Participates in Ad Council Food Safety Education Campaign

United Fresh is participating in a new food safety education initiative that will launch a multi-year advertising campaign targeting consumers and/or foodservice workers. Administered by USDA and the Ad Council, the education initiative will conduct research and develop advertising and public relations campaigns designed to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness.

"The Ad Council brings tremendous experience and resources to this initiative, and United Fresh is very pleased to provide input into development of the campaign," said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for United and a member of the Food Safety Education Campaign's Expert Committee. "Additionally, the campaign benefits from the creative and strategic talents of the JWT (formerly J Walter Thompson) marketing communications firm, which is providing its services as a public service."

At a meeting November 9 at USDA in Washington, representatives from the Ad Council, USDA-FSIS, FDA, CDC and several universities and industry organizations heard research findings and discussed the best strategies for a food safety education campaign. Whether or not the campaign will focus on food safety education that is specific to produce has yet to be determined.

The Ad Council, which has a respected history of launching many high-visibility public service campaigns, will distribute the campaign to television, cable and other media outlets as public service announcements, with an expected media market value of several million dollars. The campaign is expected to launch in July 2011 and run for approximately three years.

For more information, please contact Gilmer at 202-303-3400, ext. 425.


Ag Encourages Estate Tax Reform Before Congress Adjourns

United Fresh joined dozens of other agriculture industry organizations this week to urge Congress to take action on much-needed permanent estate tax reform before the 111th Congress adjourns in a few weeks.

Congress had repealed the estate tax for the year 2010 only. Currently, the estate tax is set to be reinstated in 2011 with an exemption of $1 million and a top rate of 55 percent. 

“Reinstating the estate tax at those levels would have a very detrimental effect on agriculture interests across the board, including fruit and vegetable producers who want to pass their operations on to the next generation,” said Julie Manes, United’s director of government relations. “Because the vast majority of producers’ assets are land-based, it is extremely difficult for producers to meet the tax burden currently proposed and that’s why we need real reform.”

Joining with representatives of the livestock, grain and dairy sectors, United Fresh is calling for estate tax reform that would set the exemption to no less than $5 million and reduce the top rate to no more than 35 percent. 

For more information on estate tax reform, please contact Manes at 202-303-3400, ext. 404.


United's Guenther Appointed to Editorial Advisory Board of New Food and Drug Policy Journal

The Food and Drug Law Institute convened a meeting of the Editorial Advisory Board this week for a new publication that will focus on the policy issues around food and drug law to launch in January. The FDLI Food and Drug Policy Forum will be a biweekly periodical about food and drug law and policy related to food, drug, medical devices, tobacco, cosmetics, animal drugs and biologics.

Joining United Fresh Senior Vice President Robert Guenther on the editorial board is a broad range of interests including organizations such as American Enterprise Institute, Pew Charitable Trust, International Dairy Food Association, Consumer Health Products Association and PhRMA.

"I am very pleased that United Fresh will be represented on this advisory board and we look forward to working with many of the organizations involved in this new effort," said Guenther. "We hope this effort will be a important opportunity to develop a forum for an exchange of policy ideas regarding food and drug law issues."

The Food and Drug Law Institute was founded in 1949 and is a non-profit organization that provides education, training and publications on food and drug law. The institute also publishes the peer-reviewed Food and Drug Law Journal presenting in-depth scholarly analysis of food and drug developments.

For more on the Food and Drug Law Institute, visit www.fldi.org.


Institute of Medicine Recommends More Fruits and Vegetables for Child Care Programs

Once again, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended that more fruits and vegetables, including more dark green and orange vegetables, be served to children.

The IOM's most recent report calls for changes in the nutrition guidelines for the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), specifically, to align meals with nutrition science and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The report calls for each meal to include one serving of fruit and two servings of vegetables. USDA is expected to apply the IOM's recommendations to CACFP meal standards, which govern the meals and snacks served through the program to more than three million children.

Additionally, the report calls for more whole grains to be served and sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars to be limited.

For more information on the report, contact United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403.


Meet Your United Fresh Board: Board Member Brings Local Roots, Global Reach to California Citrus Leader

David Krause
President
Paramount Citrus
Delano, CA


Paramount Citrus' David Krause, right, and wife Lisa Krause, left, enjoy time with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush last spring at United Fresh 2010 in Las Vegas.

How did you find your way to Paramount Citrus?

It's an interesting story, relative to a lot of people in the industry, in that I'm born and raised in California, in Reedley, actually, in the Central Valley southeast of Fresno, north of Visalia, and I've lived all my life in a ten-mile radius. I'm a product of Reedley Junior College, and basically my storyline is that I'm a guy that got lucky in a lot of ways, but mostly through experience working in farming and on ranches since I was old enough to ride my bike to work. After school, I was in the citrus business, working for a family-owned operation and was recruited to the Paramount team in 1999.

What projects are you working on right now?

Our biggest project at Paramount Citrus is the Cutie Clementine expansion, and the growth of that product line for us.

Are there issues in Washington or locally that have an effect on that particular project or on the way that you operate at Paramount Citrus?

More so our business as a whole than specific projects, but there are multiple issues that we're dealing with, including invasive pests, immigration issues, food safety related issues and PTI. All of those things are very much affecting our business today.

How involved in the local discussion is Paramount Citrus?

Locally grown is a movement that is going to miss us completely, in my opinion, as there are only three states in the U.S. that grow citrus, and by far the bulk of the fresh citrus is grown in California. Because of that, there’s just no way that you’re going to have citrus products considered as "locally grown" for those customers in the other 47 states.

Is there a way that the citrus industry can capitalize on the local discussion, even given that limited geography, whether that's domestic versus imported or another characterization?

I think that it will be a consistently-evolving definition. Locally grown for us, in the consumer's mind, would be U.S.-grown, maybe a little more granular would be a California-grown product, but primarily it's going to be domestically grown versus imported, and that would be our point of differentiation.

What do you do when you're not working?

I play a little golf - a little - but mostly I work. [My wife] Lisa and I have our own farming operation too, growing mostly Clementines and some navels, so most weekends and evenings are spent on that, enjoying the space and looking at the ranches.

Where's your favorite place to play golf?

I'm a member at King's River Country Club in Kingsburg, but I play a lot on the road with clients. Customer golf, as you can imagine, and I've ended up playing more on the road than I do at home, so I’ve been fortunate to play at some really great courses around the world.

You mention playing "customer golf," but do you play true customer golf and hold back a little bit?

I’m competitive and enjoy the challenge. Don't expect any gimmies.

You said that you were lucky enough to spend your entire life there within a ten-mile radius. What is your favorite part about that area and what has kept you there?

I think you have to understand first that farmers tend to be rooted to the land in general, and then even more so if you're a farmer like me that grows a permanent crop like tree crops that don't change every year. You plant ranches and you grow them for generations, so by living and working in an area like this, you tend to have a whole lot of people that you know and you tend to develop long-lasting friendships within the industry.

How does your distribution area, which covers the U.S. and the Pacific Rim, affect your travel and your schedule?

In terms of product, 75 percent of our product mix goes nationwide and the other 25 percent goes to the Pacific Rim markets, so travel for me is to our export markets overseas, as well as foreign production markets to try and understand who's doing what, because it is a global marketplace. I spend about 20 percent of my time on the road.

Of your travels, where’s your favorite place to go?

I always love to get out and see the customers, especially in the Asian markets like China, Hong Kong and Japan, just to see what's going on and how things are changing. But it's pretty hard to beat the European countries.

In terms of dealing with your customers on the Pacific Rim, what are some of the differences in dealing with them versus dealing with a domestic customer?

They're very, very different. First of all, you have to understand the culture, then you have to understand how they go to market, how they service their consumers and understand what their expectations are around the product. Additionally, there are a whole host of logistical issues that are different.

Have you been surprised by the popularity of one product over another in your foreign markets?

The citrus space is so mature that most of the products have been around for a long time, although there are a few new varieties that are variations on the same. What has been a real surprise though has been the growth and acceptance of an easy-peel mandarin in the United States with our Clementine program. The growth of the Cutie product line has just been phenomenal.

What is the value for you and for Paramount in your participation with United?

The reason we participate with United is that, through that participation, we're able to provide a unified voice for the industry, primarily when it comes to impactful legislative issues. That is what we see as the first and foremost value for us - a unified voice that can represent us on a breadth of issues at the legislative level and an advocate for those of us at the producer level.


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:

  • Tanimura & Antle - Salinas, CA
  • Rocky Produce - Detroit, MI
  • Andrew Bros. - Detroit, MI
  • Four Seasons - Ephrata, PA
  • Ben B. Schwartz - Detroit, MI
  • Heartland Produce - Kenosha, WI
  • John Vena, Inc. - Philadelphia, PA
  • CHEP - Orlando, FL
  • The Nunes Company - Salinas, CA

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:

Welcome
  • Morgan & Myers, Waukesha, WI

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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