October 20, 2011
In Today's Issue:

First Lady Michelle Obama Notes Success of Salad Bars in Schools

At a White House celebration on Tuesday recognizing the 1,500 participants in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge, First Lady Michelle Obama remarked that salad bars have been donated to “more than 800 schools, bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to hundreds of thousands of kids across this country.”

The First Lady also recognized Washington, DC’s Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School for its successful salad bar, emphasizing that Stokes students are “eating every last bit of broccoli and spinach and cauliflower in those salad bars. Their students empty out their salad bar every day at lunch.”

Elsie Whitlow Stokes was the very first school in the nation to receive a salad bar from the United Fresh Foundation two years ago.

“All of us at United Fresh, CDC and our other Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools partners were thrilled to hear the First Lady highlight the benefits that school salad bars are having on increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption,” said United Fresh Vice president of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra. “She gave a shout-out to only three schools and we were so impressed that she recognized Elsie Whitlow Stokes Charter School, describing the impact their salad bar has on improving students eating habits. Just two weeks ago, United Fresh members serving on our Nutrition Council had the honor of meeting Lisa Dobbs, chef and food service director at Elsie Whitlow Stokes. Lisa, along with several other DC schools, participated in a panel at the Nutrition Council meeting to discuss how Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools was benefiting their students.”

To see the First Lady’s speech, please click here, and for information on how you can support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools please contact United’s Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3400, ext. 407, or visit www.SaladBars2Schools.org.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Increases Kids’ Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables by Fifteen Percent
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) increases the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by children at participating schools by one quarter of a cup per day, or fifteen percent, according to a new independent evaluation of the program issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. Also, the additional fruits and vegetables consumed replaced the consumption of other less healthy foods, thereby not increasing total energy intake.

“We are thrilled that this comprehensive evaluation confirms what we have seen in our visits with students, parents and school officials in FFVP schools over the last 10 years,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for United Fresh. “The FFVP is effective in its mission to increase children’s total fruit and vegetable consumption and expose them to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, while at the same time replacing other less healthy snacks. This is an important independent evaluation that confirms the FFVP is transformative and helps students develop healthier eating habits.”

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income students, even by small amounts, is likely to confer a public health benefit, as children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families tend to have the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables.

“These results demonstrate that the FFVP increased students’ fruit and vegetable intake approximately twice as much as other interventions,” added DiSogra.

The FFVP began as a pilot program in 2002, championed by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and was expanded nationwide in the 2008 Farm Bill. The FFVP is intended to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students in the nation’s poorest elementary schools by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals.

The evaluation was conducted by Abt Associates in conjunction with the Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and included 5,560 elementary school students in 252 schools nationwide.

A copy of the report can be downloaded by clicking here.to top

FDA Releases Report on Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak

On a conference call with United Fresh and other members of the fresh produce industry, FDA discussed its newly-released report examining the September outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh, whole cantaloupes from FDAJensen Farms in Holly, CO.

In the report, FDA officials cited equipment cleaning and evaluation of the packing processes, among other parameters, as important factors in the contamination of the cantaloupes. The September incident is the first documented listeriosis outbreak associated with fresh, whole cantaloupe in the U.S., and the first listeriosis outbreak associated with a whole fruit or vegetable raw agricultural commodity

According to FDA, all affected cantaloupe is now out of the marketplace. “Given that the Jensen Farms’ recall has been in effect for more than a month and that the shelf life of a cantaloupe is approximately two weeks, it is expected that all of the recalled whole Jensen Farms cantaloupes have been removed from the marketplace,” stated the report.
United Fresh reminds the industry about the importance of diligently following the FDA guidance on melons, as well as all FDA guidance issued on fruits and vegetables, including the 1998 Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
For more information on FDA guidance documents, please contact United’s Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3400, ext. 411.
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As Senate Considers FY2012 Ag Appropriations Legislation, United Fresh Pleased with Agreement Reached on School Meals

An amendment proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) allowing flexibility for USDA to implement new requirements for school meals passed the Senate Tuesday as it moves forward this week with consideration of the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.Senate

“The amendment from Senator Collins would address current concerns expressed by a number of fruit and vegetable stakeholders, including United Fresh, which would set maximum limits on starchy vegetables in school meals,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “United Fresh has encouraged USDA to consider these concerns. Therefore, we are pleased that this amendment will address and support USDA efforts to finalize the rule that will double the amounts for fruits and vegetables served every day to school children across the country. United Fresh remains committed to supporting efforts by Congress and the administration to provide healthier options for children nationwide.”

For more information on the amendment, please contact Guenther at 202-303-3400, ext. 409.to top

Georgia Events Highlight School Salad Bars

In a span of three days last week, salad bars took the national spotlight in the Atlanta area. On Friday, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Carl G. Renfroe Middle School in nearby Decatur to join students for lunch at their salad bar. The Deputy Secretary filled her plate with more than 10 different fresh fruits and vegetables and talked with the students about “making half their plate fruits and vegetables at every meal.” Renfroe students told Deputy Secretary Merrigan how much they enjoyed their salad bar, which they received in early 2011 from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools through a donation from Whole Foods Market.

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visits with students at Renfroe Middle School in Decatur.


On Sunday, Dole Food Company sponsored “Raise the (Salad) Bar,” an event that included Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Diane Harris of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Georgia education and child nutrition officials. To support Lt. Gov. Cagle’s Healthy Kids Georgia initiative and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, Dole pledged to donate salad bars to three Georgia high schools. High school students wanting a salad bar for their school can submit essays or videos on how their school is working to meet Georgia Health Education Standards by February 2012 at www.RaiseTheSaladBar.com.



From left, CDC’s Diane Harris, Nancy Rice of the Georgia Department of Education, Dole’s Marty Ordman, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Larry Winter of the Georgia Board of Education, Kirk Faruquharson of the USDA SE Regional Office and Georgia 4-H’s Richie Knight.

“Both Georgia events provided an excellent opportunity to showcase how school salad bars can increase students’ fruit and vegetable intake and make it easy for schools to meet USDA’s new school meal regulations, which call for doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables served at lunch,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at United Fresh. “We are very committed to donating salad bars to more schools in the southeastern part of the U.S. including in Georgia, to help improve children’s eating habits and reduce rates of childhood obesity.”

For information on how you can support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, contact United’s Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3400, ext. 407, or visit www.SaladBars2Schools.org.to top

Registration Now Open for 2012 Produce Executive Development Program

Registration is now open for the sixth annual Produce Executive Development Program. Presented through the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence in partnership with the Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, the program will be held March 11-16, 2012, at the Statler Hotel & Executive Conference Center on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y.

The Produce Executive Development Program is an intense, five-day program for mid- to senior-level executives led by Cornell faculty and industry experts.  The course focuses on issues critical to both personal development and the larger challenges and opportunities faced by today’s produce industry executives. Participants will take part in a unique learning experience characterized by cutting-edge theory, industry best practices and thought-provoking discussions about key business issues affecting the global produce industry.

“While this program is designed to address the unique challenges of our industry, it doesn’t stop there. It pushes you to think beyond the industry to the larger issues impacting the business world,” said 2011 program graduate, Brian Coates, senior buyer of produce at Meijer. “You walk away thinking differently about your own business, your role as a leader in the industry, and how you can effectively lead those in your company.”

This robust program agenda will include respected Cornell faculty, guest speakers, and industry experts. Some of the topics for the 2012 course include:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Today’s Food Retailing & Foodservice Climate
  • Team Dynamics and Decision Making
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Financial Planning
  • Career Success…And Derailment
  • Produce Industry Forecast for the Future
  • Strategies for Growth in Entrepreneurial Environments
  • Supply Chain Stimulation
  • Leading Through Change
  • Understanding Your Executive Leadership Style
  • Work/Life Balance: The Power of Sleep

“So many in the produce business know that hard work is an industry standard, and that the title of ‘executive’ is not simply an achievement to be accomplished, but rather another step in a career built on learning and development,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “This program is centered on that ideal, and based on the belief that real learning and development are a continuous process, even for the most seasoned executives.”

In the interest of keeping class size both informative and intimate, enrollment is limited to 40 participants. Tuition for the program includes: five nights lodging, instruction, books, supplies, breakfasts, luncheons and several special dinners. For United Fresh members, the registration fee is $4995 if booked prior to January 20, and $5500 if booked after.  For non-members, the registration fees are $7995 and $8500, respectively. More information on the program is available by clicking here or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager at 202-303-3400, ext. 405 or syoung@unitedfresh.org.to top

United Fresh Announces 2012 Dates for Produce Inspection Training Program

The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Food Safety & Quality, will conduct three installments of its popular Produce Inspection Training Program in 2012. These hands-on training sessions, executed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS), are designed to help produce industry members better understand the breadth of the produce inspection process. Inspection

“This program provides a valuable resource to industry members throughout all sectors of the produce supply chain,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president, member services, foundation. “We continue to see many new and returning companies take advantage of the straight-forward training and practical applications that this unique course offers.”

“Through our partnership with United Fresh, these programs present a special opportunity for the government to connect with and educate the private sector,” said Robert Keeney, deputy administrator, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, USDA-AMS. “As we enter our tenth year since the program started, we’ve trained nearly 750 industry members and interest continues to remain high.”

Three Produce Inspection Training Programs will be offered in 2012 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA: January 9-13, May 21-25, and September 10-14.

The program is offered in two specialized courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Upon completion of both courses, attendees receive a certificate of completion from United Fresh and USDA.

The first of the two courses, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection, is a prerequisite of the Commodity Labs course and focuses on topics such as inspection essentials, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs course takes place in the lab and applies the principals learned in the fundamentals course to real product inspections. Each Commodity Labs course will include the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes, and will be customized with additional commodities based on the attendees’ most common preferences (up to 12 in total).The following course options are available in the coming year:

January 9-10                 Fundamentals of Inspection
January 11-13               Commodity Labs
January 9-13                 Both Courses

May 21-22                     Fundamentals of Inspection
May 23-25                     Commodity Labs
May 21-25                     Both Courses

September 10-11          Fundamentals of Inspection
September 12-14          Commodity Labs
September 10-14          Both Courses

Class size is limited and attendees are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for United Fresh members interested in the introductory course is $895, while the advanced course is $1225. If both courses are taken together, members may register at the discounted rate of $1925. If three or more colleagues from the same member company register for both courses at the same time, each will receive a $100 discount on the registration rate.  For non-members, the prices are $1095, $1425 and $2325, respectively.  Seminar registration fees include training seminars and all course materials.

Attendees may register for the training seminars on the United Fresh website at www.unitedfresh.org or by contacting Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3400, ext. 405 or syoung@unitedfresh.org.to top

Fresh-Cut Short Course to be Held Alongside FRESHCONEX/Fruit Logistica in Berlin this February

The fifth edition of the European Short-Course on Quality and Safety of Fresh-cut Produce will be held in conjunction with the FRESHCONEX/Fruit Logistica, the world’s largest fresh produce exposition, in Berlin, February 6-8.

Produced and sponsored by the University of Foggia, in cooperation with the University of Cordoba, FRESHCONEX, the Distretto Agroalimentare Regionale della Puglia and United Fresh, the course cover issues such as quality factors affecting fresh-cut products, processing, packaging and temperature management, microbiological testing, and other safety and quality issues. United Fresh Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology Dr. David Gombas will lead the course discussion on food safety and situation management.

“This special, three-day course will provide a comprehensive and intensive review of technology in the fresh-cut industry, with emphasis on the critical areas of processing, packaging, and quality assurance,” said Dr. Giancarlo Colelli of the University of Foggia. “The faculty for the program represents an international group of recognized experts including top scientists and academic professionals from the U.S. and Europe, which have significantly contributed to the vast success of this course in the previous four editions”.

For more information visit the course website by clicking here, or email postharvest@unifg.it. The course is limited to 100 participants and it will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.to top

United Fresh Members, Staff Have Strong Showing in this Year’s Produce Business 40-Under-Forty

40 Under 40

Six alumni from the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program and one United Fresh staff member were honored last week as part of Produce Business magazine’s prestigious 40-Under-Forty issue.

Congratulations to Nina Brooks, of H. Brooks and Company, Rio Queen’s Gretchen Kriedler, Nick Mascari of Indianapolis Fruit Co., Cal Giant’s Jerry Moran, Andrew J. Pandol of Pandol Bros. Inc. and Associated Wholesale Grocers’ Bryan Tate, as well as United’s Miriam Miller Wolk, for their outstanding achievement.

The seventh annual issue honors 40 young leaders of the produce industry, nominated by their peers for outstanding leadership skills within their respective companies, the industry and their communities.

The full list of this year’s 40-Under-Forty is available by clicking here. to top

Thank You Washington Public Policy Conference Sponsors!

Please join United Fresh in thanking these organizations that committed both resources and time to making this month’s Washington Public Policy Conference a success.

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We’ve Got New Photos from WPPC!

WPPCUnited’s communications and marketing team has been hard at work posting new photos from this month’s Washington Public Policy Conference. New photos and video highlights from WPPC are now available at UnitedFresh.org, or by clicking here. Included in the highlights are candid moments from congressional visits, the Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, the Face-to-Face Meetings with regulators at FDA, EPA and USDA, and a unique Flipcam diary of the annual Washington conference from the young leaders’ perspectives.

Click here to see all the new photos and catch some moments you may have missed!

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2011 Supporters
Roundtable logo

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:

  • TNA North America, Lynwood, WA

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 Senior Director of Membership Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

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New Member Welcome

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

  • TNA North America, Lynwood, WA

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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

Events in your area, designed to grow your business.

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