May 19, 2011

In Today's Issue:

Registration Now Open for the Produce Industry's Most Powerful Public Policy Event

The industry's most prominent and influential executives will converge on the nation's capitol this fall for the 2011 Washington Public Policy Conference. With fixtures like the annual Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, one of Washington's most celebrated and flavorful events, the Washington Public Policy Conference will provide attendees with face-to-face dialogue with lawmakers and staff at key congressional offices, as well as meetings with Obama Administration officials on a variety of issues facing the fresh produce industry, including food safety, labor, nutrition and other.

"The Washington Public Policy Conference is an event that each person that has a stake in the sustained success of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry should highlight on his or her calendar and make plans to attend," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "Especially so at this year's event, the WPPC provides a venue for produce industry leaders to interact with the most influential congressional and administration figures on Capitol Hill and underscore the role that these lawmakers play in the issues that affect our businesses."

An added bonus, this year's conference, October 3-5, will take place just steps from the Capitol at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

"This gathering continues to be one that creates and nurtures real change for our industry," added Stenzel. "With concentrated and targeted face time with decision makers on every issue important to produce, WPPC remains the only produce industry event in Washington that brings leaders from produce businesses far and wide together to make a real difference."

Attendees may register online by clicking here, and first-time attendees will receive $100 off registration. All attendees registering before June 15 will receive an additional $50 off their registration packages. For more information on the Washington Public Policy Conference, contact Angela Tiwari, United Fresh political affairs manager at 202-303-3400, ext. 416. 

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"We Can Do This Collectively": New United Chair Delivers Message of Unity to Industry

Newly-minted United Fresh Chairman Reggie Griffin delivered a message of unity and coordinated effort to the fresh produce industry May 4 in New Orleans, telling attendees at United Fresh 2011 that to drive real change on issues like immigration and food safety, the whole industry must be involved. Video of Griffin's full address is available now at UnitedFresh.TV.

In addition to the chairman's address, a full recap of all the big ideas, big solutions and big networking fun from New Orleans is available at UnitedFresh.TV and the United Fresh 2011 Photo Gallery. From the Opening Party to the closing of the Annual Awards Banquet, UnitedFresh.TV and the United Fresh 2011 Photo Gallery have highlighted the best moments from New Orleans and brought them right to your desktop.

Check out UnitedFresh.TV for inside looks at the show floor, the RiverJazz Opening Party, United's donation of salad bars to 33 New Orleans schools, show floor education including Cathy Green Burns' address on the Produce Traceability Initiative, and lessons from United's Retail Produce Manager Award and Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners. Also, take a peek behind the curtain at some United Fresh 2011 exhibitors, including Accu-Label, Bosch, Colorful Harvest, Crunch Pak, Diagraph, DNE, FoodLink, iGPS, Jem D, NSF, PRO*ACT and Sunkist.

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Next Month's Fresh Convenience Offers Opportunity to Capitalize on Fresh-Cut Sector in Europe

Those members of the industry looking to take advantage of the rapidly expanding fresh-cut and convenience market in Western Europe and examine new innovations to maximize profitability are encouraged to register today for the second annual Fresh Convenience Congress, June 14-16 in London. Organized by United Fresh and Fresh Convenience Magazine, and supported by FRESHCONEX, the Fresh Convenience Congress is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for the fresh-cut and convenience sector in Europe.

In addition to networking with fresh-cut and fresh convenience leaders, this year's program offers an exciting line-up, including a keynote address from United Board Member Brian Kocher, president, Europe and the Middle East, Chiquita Brands International. In addition to Kocher's address, session topics include:

  • A review of major fresh-cut and fresh convenience trends in the foodservice and retail sector
  • Brand value and marketing strategies
  • New product development
  • Technological innovations in packaging and machinery
  • The impact of sustainability on fresh-cut processing and packaging

To review the full education program schedule, please click here. United Fresh members receive an additional 10 percent discount on delegate fees. For more information about Fresh Convenience Congress, please contact Jeff Oberman at 831-422-0940. 

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USDA Takes Virtual Food Safety Resource to Smartphones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has brought its popular Ask Karen resource to handheld devices this month, launching Mobile Ask Karen, an app that instantly answers food safety questions via a virtual food safety representative offering advice about properly handling, storing, and preparing food to prevent illness.

"FSIS has a wealth of tips and useful information to help as you shop, prepare, and store food," said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "People are using mobile devices more and more to get quick information, so we've adapted our tools, allowing more people to get food safety messages faster. Now, people can 'Ask Karen' right away when they need food safety information, without being tethered to a computer."

In mobile format, people can take "Karen" with them to the grocery store, barbecue grill, farmers market, and into the kitchen. Anywhere mobile devices can access the Internet, at any time of day, consumers can get immediate answers to questions such as, "Is food safe if left out overnight?" or, "Should I use a wooden cutting board or a plastic one?"

In a continuing effort to engage consumers and encourage new behaviors when buying food or cooking at home, the agency created Mobile Ask Karen to make food safety information more accessible. Just like using Ask Karen from a desktop or laptop computer, consumers can search for nearly 1,500 answers by topic or by product, chat with a live representative, or e-mail or call the USDA directly. The app currently is optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

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Did You Miss This Week's Produce Inspection Training Program? Not to Worry!

United Fresh is pleased to announce the third and final 2011 installment of its popular Produce Inspection Training Program, the produce industry's only USDA-instructed inspection training program, September 12-16 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors' Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA. This hands-on training is designed to help produce industry receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the complexities of the produce inspection process.

The program is offered in two specialized courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and the Commodity Labs course. The two-day Fundamentals course is a prerequisite to the Labs course and focuses on inspection essentials, PACA, sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs program applies the fundamental principals to real world inspections including the five most commonly requested commodities—grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes—with up to seven additional commodities based on the attendees' most common preferences.

Class size is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for the introductory course is $895, $1225 for the advanced course, and $1925 for members for both courses taken together.  If three or more colleagues register for both courses at the same time, each receives a $100 discount.

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Less Than Two Weeks Remain to Weigh in on Produce Industry Compensation Data

Industry members have until May 31 to add their company's information to a comprehensive metric of industry compensation through the United Fresh Produce Industry Compensation Survey, available at  U.S.-based produce industry employers including grower-shippers, brokers, wholesaler-distributors, importers, exporters and fresh-cut processors are encouraged to participate until the May 31 deadline.  Companies that participate in submitting data for the survey are eligible to receive a fully-customized report for their company at a discounted rate of $195.  

Prepared by expert research firm Industry Insights, the survey confidentially collects data from U.S.-based produce companies.  It measures compensation and benefits levels for 30 positions including Sales & Marketing, Production & Operations, Quality Control & Assurance, Administration, Finance & Accounting and Executives. 

For additional information about the survey, contact United's Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

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Webinar to Tackle Canadian Destination Inspection Services

United Fresh members will receive free access to an upcoming webinar informing the produce industry on new fees and the process for Destination Inspection Services (DIS) in Canada. The webinar will include presentations from representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and other groups, and topics will include background on the DIS, DIS pricing, fees and service agreements, as well as impact of the DIS program on companies doing business in and across Canada

The English-language webinar will take place on Thursday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The changes to Destination Inspection Services took effect on Monday, May 16, 2011.

Participants may register by clicking here. For more information on the program, please contact CPMA's Bev Appleby at 613-226-4187, ext. 227.

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Do You Know an Outstanding Grower?

Attendees to this fall's Washington Public Policy Conference will be on hand to recognize the winner of the 2011 Grower Achievement Award, and nominations are now being accepted for the honor, awarded by United Fresh, Syngenta and the editors of American Vegetable Grower.

The Grower Achievement Award honors leading fruit and vegetable growers based on marketing, innovation, food quality and safety, and industry leadership, recognizing the honorees in a way that creates good news for the entire industry.

For more information on the award and to nominate an outstanding grower, click here, and for more on this fall's Washington Public Policy Conference, click here.

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New Member Welcome
  • Catalytic Generators, Norfolk, VA
  • Genghis Grill, Dallas, TX
  • The Saqui Group, Granite Bay, CA
  • Spokane Software Systems, Inc., Saint George, UT

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

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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Upcoming United Fresh Events

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