April 28, 2011

In Today's Issue:

USDA Releases Proposed Rule on Formation of a National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement

Tomorrow, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule recommending the establishment of a national marketing agreement to regulate the handling of leafy green vegetables. Key components of the proposed rule include:



  • The agreement would be voluntary in nature therefore you would not have to sign up for this agreement if you chose not to do so.
  • Produce areas would be divided into 8 zones to recognize groups of states with similar climate and production environments.
  • There would be a 26 member governance board comprised of 12 handlers, 10 farmers, 1 importer, 1 retailer, 1 food service, and 1 public participant.
  • There would be also be a Technical Review Committee that would be charged with developing standards that met U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Good Handling Practices (GHPs) requirements.
  • The Technical Review Committee would also include government representation from USDA's National Organic Program, Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Assessments would be recommended by the Board and could not exceed $0.05 per 24-pound carton.
  • Fees could be used for research and education programs along with verification of compliance with standards.

"We are pleased that USDA has initiated this step by releasing a proposed rule for leafy greens. It is now time for the industry to carefully review this proposal and decide if the merits of this proposed rule can validate a process that enhances the safety of fresh leafy greens across the country," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy at United Fresh. "We look forward to a broad discussion about this proposal and will engage our members aggressively to learn their views about this effort."

There will be a 90-day comment period beginning tomorrow. For additional information about this proposal please visit the USDA National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement Home Page.

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United Fresh On-Hand to Applaud DC School and Highlight Salad Bars to USDA Official

On Tuesday, Bruce Monroe Elementary School became the first Washington, D.C. public school to receive the highest-level honor under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HealthierU.S. School Challenge (HUSSC).  USDA Deputy Under Secretary For Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Dr. Janey Thornton presented the "Gold with Distinction" award to school principal, Dr. Marta Palacios, for the school's commitment to creating a culture of health and wellness, emphasizing the importance of eating healthy fruits and vegetables and engaging in physical activity. Also on hand for this announcement was Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager.

Monroe Elementary recently received a salad bar as part of Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, United Fresh's new partnership that supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.

"The staff at Monroe Elementary are clearly committed to the health and wellness of their students," said Marshall. "At the award ceremony, several teachers were recognized for coordinating activities that got kids to think about eating healthy and doing more exercise. The students were all very excited about their new salad bar and being able to have a variety of fruits and vegetables every day."

To date, United Fresh has donated salad bars to 11 Washington, D.C. schools.  United Fresh has been at number of school award ceremonies and school tours with high profile USDA officials, touting salad bars and the role they can play in increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption. Dr. Thornton has visited schools in several cities that have received salad bars from the United Fresh Foundation.

For more information on Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, visit www.saladbars2schools.org.

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United Fresh Sends Letter to USDA on Pesticide Program

In an effort to proactively tackle the harmful effects of misinterpretation of the USDA's annual Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Summary Report, such as was seen in the Environmental Working Group's 2009 "Dirty Dozen" list , United Fresh reached out this week via letter to USDA with other members of the produce and related industries.

"We believe this report has, in previous years, been mischaracterized repeatedly by environmental activists and news media to the extent that it has discouraged people from consuming fresh produce," said the group in the letter. "…The findings in the report can be difficult to understand without the provision of proper context for the findings. The vast majority of residue detections are below five percent of the tolerances set by EPA. Yet, the report does not emphasize such key findings in the analysis. Publishing a report without context and explanation of findings allows for mischaracterizations by those who want to negatively influence public perception about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables."

For the full letter, pleas click here, and for more information on the PDP, please contact United's Ray Gilmer at 202-303-3400, ext. 425.

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Chiquita's Joe Huston to Fill Seat on United Fresh Board

United Fresh Chairman of the Board Steffanie Smith has appointed Joe Huston, president of Chiquita Brands North America, to fill the seat formerly held by Brian Kocher prior to his move to head Chiquita's European operations.

Huston is responsible for leading Chiquita Brands' bananas, value-added salads, and other produce businesses in the region, as well as the development and growth of new business platforms. He joined Chiquita in 2004 and most recently served as vice president Salad, Healthy Snacking and Vegetable Ingredients. Huston will join the six new Board members previously announced who take office at the United Fresh 2011 annual meeting and convention in New Orleans.

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Mobile App, UnitedFresh.TV, Social Media and Photos Foster Total Attendee Connection to United Fresh 2011

United Fresh is connecting the produce industry to United Fresh 2011, its annual conference and expo in New Orleans next week, through myriad channels, including the United Fresh smartphone app, UnitedFresh.TV, the association’s online video home, United's social media pages, and a comprehensive photo gallery.

The United Fresh app is available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone users and can be downloaded free of charge at www.UnitedFresh.org/apps. The apps feature United Fresh 2011 schedules, exhibitor information and product listings, as well as convention news. Users of the app can access customized United Fresh 2011 content for each of the four United Fresh Market Segments: Grower-Shipper, Wholesaler-Distributor, Fresh-Cut Processor and Retail-Foodservice.

"We've come to a point at which, in a modern industry like ours, business leaders expect to be able to connect with their association in multiple ways," said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for United Fresh. "The United Fresh app enables its users to quickly and easily get the information they need about the United show, in order to stay current, plan their days, and make the most of their United Fresh 2011 experience." Users of mobile devices other than the Android, BlackBerry and iPhone can visit m.unitedfresh.org on their mobile browsers to experience the same customized features.

In addition to unveiling the smartphone app, United Fresh also announces that UnitedFresh.TV, the association's online video home, will feature daily news coverage of United Fresh 2011, including focuses on the educational programs and networking events from the show, reports from the traceability and food safety demo centers on the expo floor, interviews with major speakers, hot topics covering each sector of the supply chain, and new products, services and solutions on display. For a second year, United Fresh gratefully acknowledges the support of Chiquita in sponsoring UnitedFresh.TV.

"We received such great feedback on UnitedFresh.TV last year, as well as some fantastic ideas on how to tweak it to better serve the viewing audience," said Gilmer. "We're particularly excited about the programming this year, including discussions with our Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners on produce trends in foodservice, and secrets of the top supermarket produce departments from the Retail Produce Manager Awards Program honorees."

United Fresh will also be covering the show on the association's Twitter (twitter.com/UnitedFresh), Facebook (facebook.com/UnitedFreshProduceAssociation), LinkedIN (linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=66052), and Foursquare (foursquare.com/UnitedFresh) pages, where users will find updates on programming, scheduling, news and entertainment. Twitter users are reminded to include the #United2011 hashtag on all United Fresh 2011-related tweets, and Foursquare users are encouraged to check in at the United Fresh 2011 expo floor, the United Fresh Membership Booth, the RiverJazz Opening Party, and the show-floor Learning Centers and Demo Centers.
Finally, industry members will have the opportunity to see the show unfold in photos through the United Fresh 2011 photo gallery, available at http://www.unitedfresh.org/show_2011/United_Fresh_2011_photo_gallery. Launching on Monday, May 2, the gallery will showcase highlights from the show's educational, networking and expo offerings, as well as highlight the colorful personalities that make the annual United Fresh show so unique.

For more information on the United Fresh 2011 expo and convention, please visit www.UnitedFresh2011.org, or contact United Fresh at 202-303-3400.

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Can't Make it to the Royal Wedding? Save the Date for the Fresh Convenience Congress!

United Fresh invites those industry members not invited to the Royal Wedding to gather in London, June 14-16, for the real event of the season, this year's Fresh Convenience Congress.

Organized by United Fresh and Fresh Convenience Magazine and supported by Freshconex, the Fresh Convenience Congress will explore opportunities to capitalize on the growing fresh-cut and convenience market and examine new innovations that maximize profitability. 

The program will include sessions on convenience branding, technical advances on processing operations, retail and foodservice innovations, and new product development, as well as ample opportunities to network with leaders in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.

Attendees who register by May 16 to receive the early bird registration rate on the Congress.  United Fresh members will also receive an additional 10% discount on delegate fees.  Also, this program is eligible for United Fresh Member Rewards

If you are joining United in New Orleans for United Fresh 2011, visit the United Fresh membership booth to learn more about the Congress, as well as the benefits of membership for your company.

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Time Running Out to Capitalize on UGA's Fresh-Cut HACCP Course

This week is the last week to register for "Hands on HACCP for the Fresh-Cut Industry," May 17-19 at the University of Georgia in Athens. The course is presented by United Fresh and the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Department of Food Science and Technology.

Designed specifically for the fresh-cut industry and accredited by the International HACCP Alliance, the program provides attendees with the skills and knowledge to design, implement, document and maintain HACCP within a fresh-cut business. The three-day course provides a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists and HACCP experts, as well as authorities from academia, industry and government. The program also includes work group sessions that provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

The deadline for program registration is April 25, and a registration form can be downloaded here. United Fresh members receive discounted registration. For more information, please call 706-542-2574 or email efs@uga.edu.

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Vaughn Ford of Ford Produce Company is this Week's BIG Winner in United's Restaurant A Week Giveaway!

Congratulations to Vaughn Ford of Ford's Produce Company! Vaughn is the winner of the final Restaurant a Week Giveaway, and will enjoy dining at Drago's courtesy of United Fresh.

Still haven't registered? Do it today! Flights to New Orleans are still cheap. There's no better time to join produce industry leaders as we make a BIG difference in the BIG Easy!


Congratulations to all of our winners!

Jon Vena, John Vena, Inc.
Scott Danner, Liberty Fruit Co., Inc.
Gary Myracle, Associated Wholesale Grocers
Albert Gottuso, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Dan O'Connell, Sun Rich Fresh Food, Inc.
Kevin Basore, TKM Bengard Farm, Inc.
Nicole Hottendorf, Restaurant Services, Inc.
Len Moskowitz, Testa Produce, Inc.
Teri Miller, Food Lion, LLC
Gretchen Kreidler, Rio Queen Citrus, Inc.
Tony Dinovo, DNO, Inc.
Betty Allison, Maryland Food Center Authority
Tim Kraus, Duck Delivery Produce, Inc.
Kevin Jones, Lancaster Foods, LLC 
Doug Rodriguez, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Audra Pura, Earthbound Farm
Vaughn Ford, Ford's Produce Company

Galatoire's Restaurant
Arnaud's Restaurant
Drago's Seafood Restaurant
Chartres House Café
Pier 424 Seafood Market Restaurant
Pierre Maspero
Royal House Oyster Bar
La Bayou
Commander's Palace
Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House
Palace Cafe
Dickie Brennan Steak House
Red Fish Grill
Riverfront Restaurant
Drago's Seafood Restaurant


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Chairman's Roundtable Thanks 2011 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 2011 Chairman's Roundtable:

  • Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, CA
  • Sanitation Specialists, LLC, Watsonville, 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.

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New Member Welcome

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

  • InnoSeal Systems, Inc., Charlotte, NC
  • Sunflower Farmers Market, Phoenix, AZ
  • Victory Dynamics, Yakima, WA
  • Interrupcion Fair Trade, Brooklyn, NY

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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Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

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