December 22, 2011
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Finishes Year with Big Momentum on School Salad Bars

United Fresh joins with members to celebrate a successful year of bringing more salad bars to schools across the country. Momentum is building, especially in the last few months of 2011, as leading produce industry companies have stepped up their commitment and support for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. These member companies, listed here, are making a difference by supporting salad bars as an effective strategy for increasing children’s access to, and consumption of, fresh fruits and vegetables at school!

Earlier this month, Tanimura & Antle announced their contribution to support salad bars for five schools, all of which are located near their winter growing operations in California and Arizona. The contribution was made possible by Tanimura & Antle’s fall Artisan Lettuce Salad Smarts packaging promotion. And in Florida, Duda Farm Fresh Foods donated eight salad bars to Seminole County schools; all eight schools will begin the New Year with new salad bars.

Also in December, the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, based in La Mirada, CA, approved funding for salad bars for two California schools, one in the Los Angeles/Orange County area and one in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Chiquita Brands International Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre recently announced the company’s plan to donate 15 salad bars to Charlotte, NC area schools as a gesture of goodwill to the community that will host Chiquita’s new corporate headquarters. What’s more, Chiquita’s contributions supported salad bars for 10 schools located outside Denver, as well as six salad bars for the Houston Independent School District.

In November, Sun World International donated salad bars to a Bakersfield-area junior high school, as well as announced its intent to organize a yearly donation of salad bars to their local Kern County school district. The Dole Food Company donated salad bars to two schools in Port Hueneme and Oxnard areas of California, and announced they would be donating salad bars to all of the district’s nine remaining schools. Pandol Brothers also got in on the action, donating salad bars to a Delano, CA school, starting a new relationship with their school district. All of these contributions have helped to raise the profile of salad bars in schools as a way to get kids excited about eating fruits and vegetables.

In September, and lasting thru the end of October, Produce for Kids, in conjunction with United Fresh, launched a promotion with Publix Supermarkets to support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. Proceeds from the campaign will support the donation of 30 salad bars to schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, with salad bars set to arrive in schools in early 2012.

Work has already begun to donate salad bars to schools in Texas in conjunction with the upcoming United Fresh May 2012 convention, May 1-3. This effort, spearheaded by United Fresh Nutrition Council Chairwoman Dan’l Mackey Almy (DMA Solutions) and the LONE STAR Salad Bars Task Force, a coalition of Texas produce industry leaders who are committed to supporting salad bars for Texas schools, has secured commitments from several leading companies/organizations in the produce industry: IFCO Systems, Combs Produce, DMA Solutions, Crunch Pak Sliced Apples, Frontera Produce, the Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and Tanimura & Antle. Dan’l and her family are also making a personal contribution utilizing a charitable fund they’ve established with Fidelity Investments that matches their contribution, supporting the purchase of two salad bars for schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The New Year starts big! In early 2012, United Fresh expects a major California commodity organization to announce the donation of salad bars to more than 25 schools in California, and additional salad bar donations from a Northeast grocery retailer that will support salad bars for schools in the Northeast that have won USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge Award.

The produce industry is truly making a difference – and there are still plenty of opportunities for more companies to get involved.

For more information about how your company can support salad bars in schools, contact United Fresh policy and Grassroots manager, Andrew Marshall at (202) 303-3407.

Administration Releases Report on Food Safety Working Group

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday issued a progress report to showcase the work of the president’s Food Safety Working Group (FSWG). The working group was established by the White House in 2009 to provide guidance to the president for strengthening the nation’s food safety.

The report calls attention to how the FDA, in partnership with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, established a Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell University to develop educational and training materials for growers of all sizes. United Fresh has provided significant input on this important initiative.

“When we gather around our holiday tables, we shouldn’t ever have to worry about the safety of our food,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We have the safest food supply in the world, but we can always do more to protect consumers. The best way to ensure food safety is by building prevention into our food safety system, and we will take another step in that direction when the Food and Drug Administration issues proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act.”

Almost from the start of its work, the FSWG emphasized a three-dimensional approach to enhancing public health through greater food safety:

Prevention - establish science-based best practices to reduce the risk of illness among entities that produce, process, and distribute food;
Surveillance - the ongoing, systematic collection and analysis of containment, public health, and molecular data, throughout the farm-to-fork continuum, for use in preventing and controlling foodborne illnesses;
Response - rapidly detect and terminate foodborne illness outbreaks and contamination when and where they do occur.

Over the past two years, these aims have provided the organizing framework for the FSWG’s efforts, and they will continue to do so going forward.

“As families across the country share in this holiday season, it is important to reiterate our commitment to protecting the food supply and our desire to remain vigilant to protect the American people,” said Secretary Vilsack.

For more information, please contact Dr. David Gombas, 202-303-3400.

Nominate a Chef and Produce Manager Today for Recognition at United Fresh 2012

With less than a month left until the nomination deadline of January 16, 2012, now is the time to show your appreciation to the men and women working on the frontline to increase the consumption and sales of produce.

Winners and each of their corporate executives for each program will receive complimentary registration to United Fresh 2012 in Dallas; roundtrip airfare to Dallas and accommodations during United Fresh 2012. They also receive special recognition and reserved seating at the Annual Awards Banquet May 1, 2012

January 16, 2012 - Nomination Deadline

Nominate a Chef Today!

Nominate a Produce Manager Today!

For more information on the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards, sponsored by Pro*Act, click here or contact Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410. For more information on the Retail Produce Manager Awards, sponsored by Ready Pac Produce, click here or contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3408.

Specialty Crops Block Grants Webinar Available Online

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has made available a webinar that explains the process for applying for specialty crop block grants. The webinar, “Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops,” can be viewed at this link.

The webinar reviews the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and explains the steps necessary to apply for grant funds. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Projects funded in the past by the program have focused on marketing and promotion, education, production, research, food safety, and pest and plant health.  

United Fresh and the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance have led efforts to include state block grants in farm bill legislation. Continuation of these grants is a priority for the 2012 Farm Bill. Learn more about the alliance at www.strongeragriculture.org.

Applications for individual specialty crop projects must be submitted to your state department of agriculture to be considered for funding. State departments of agriculture are encouraged to partner with specialty crop stakeholders.

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2012 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 2012 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Field Fresh Foods, Inc., Gardena, CA
  • Greenhouse Produce Company, Vero Beach, CA
  • iGPS, Orlando, FL
  • Monsanto, St. Louis, MO
  • Sanitation Specialists, LLC, Watsonville, CA
  • State Garden, Inc., Chelsea, MA

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.

New Member Welcome

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

  • PSSI, Kieler, 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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

Events in your area, designed to grow your business.

Inside United Fresh is taking a holiday break next week.  The next issue will be January 5, 2012.  Happy Holidays!