February 9, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Fresh Impact Forum at FreshConex Sparks Global Dialogue on Produce Industry Issues

Fresh Impact Forum Panel: (L to R) Klaus Klische, Fresh Factory; Alessandro Turatti, Turatti Srl; Paddy Callaghan, Nature's Best Limited; Tom Stenzel, United Fresh

The United Fresh booth has been a popular destination at the Fruit Logistica/FreshConex event in Berlin! United members from all over the world, foreign officials and curious fresh produce industry players have all stopped by to see how being United makes all the difference. For an inside look at who’s stopped by, see our videos and photos on Facebook.

United kicked off the 2012 Fresh Impact Tour with the United Fresh Impact Forum, a panel discussion of key European members. The discussion was moderated by United President & CEO Tom Stenzel, who was joined by fresh-cut industry leaders Klaus Klische, Fresh Factory, Germany; Paddy Callaghan, Nature’s Best Ltd., Ireland; and Alessandro Turatti, Turatti Ltd., Italy.

The panel discussed food safety and consumer trends in a global context. The panelists spoke on the impact of last summer's E. coli outbreak on their businesses and the broader industry, as well as the latest technological solutions available to help produce companies with food safety efforts.

In light of food safety concerns and the current state of the global economy, the panel brainstormed ways to encourage consumers to eat more whole and convenience fresh produce items. Current fresh-cut sales trends in hotels and retail markets were examined, followed by an interactive discussion on programs that are encouraging a new generation to choose fresh produce as an essential element of their meals, such as school salad bar programs in the United States and the Freshfel school program in Europe.

A full house at the Global Reception.

“It was extremely valuable to have a dialogue with our European members on the biggest issues facing their businesses, and their biggest challenges and opportunities today,” said Stenzel. “United Fresh is dedicated to helping all of our members around the world tackle the issues facing their companies, as well as to benefit from the many opportunities available to the produce industry.”

The Fresh Impact Tour will continue in February to the Southeastern U.S. and Washington State, and through California and Texas in August. Additionally, the tour will visit Chile as part of United’s 2011-12 Leadership Program. For more information on the Fresh Impact Tour, please contact Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

The United Fresh Impact Forum was followed by the Global Industry reception, an annual tradition that brought together more than 150 members. N2N generously sponsored the reception, with CEO Ernesto Nardone and team on hand to celebrate. The lively event focused on networking and engagement among the global produce industry participants.

"The reception was great place for all members to meet new friends and catch up with industry colleagues here in Europe,” said United Fresh Vice President of Convention and Industry Relations John Toner. "The show also allowed us to meet with attendees to discuss the strong opportunities for their businesses coming up in Dallas at United Fresh 2012, as well as a way for the North American and European marketplaces to dialogue about making produce more convenient and more accessible through all channels of global trade." 

Value-Added Producer Grants Boost Fresh Produce

On February 3, USDA announced that it had awarded $40.2 million in value-added producer grants (VAPG) to 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The grant program is a valuable tool for fruit and vegetable producers to enhance their ability to meet consumer demand and to move their products into the marketplace.  Funds may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products or for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.
"The recipients announced last week cover the spectrum of specialty crops, including many producers in the fruit and vegetable category. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, those in the fruit and vegetable industry have received nearly $60 million to improve their chances of bringing products to the marketplace. Producers have successfully used these funds to access previously unavailable resources to improve their ability to be competitive,” said Julie Manes, United Fresh director of government relations. "As Congress takes up work on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, maintaining funding for this program is one of our key priorities and we'll keep working with our allies in Congress and the administration to make sure the VAPG program continues to provide fruit and vegetable growers with the help they need."

The USDA announcement can be viewed here. For more information please contact Julie Manes at 202-303-3400.

Increased Truck Weight Limits Rejected by House Committee

On February 2 the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly $260 billion, five-year reauthorization of transportation programs. The produce industry has widely supported and paid particular attention to language that would give states the option to allow increased truck weights with the addition of a sixth axle, effectively increasing the efficiency of produce transportation. Unfortunately, opponents of the proposal, primarily those who provide alternate modes of transportation, raised safety concerns about the language and, as a result, the increased truck weights language was substituted with a proposal to instead study the effects of increased truck weights. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

“It is disappointing to see the Committee take this action, particularly when studies show that increased weights improve productivity and efficiency without undermining safety,” said Julie Manes, United Fresh director of government relations. “We’ll continue working with our industry partners on educating and doing outreach to Congressional members and their staff. As the full House and then the Senate take up transportation reauthorization, we’ll be ready for further opportunities to bring this important proposal to fruition.”

For more information, please contact Julie Manes at 202-303-3400.

United Fresh Foundation to Support Salad Bars for Texas Schools at United Fresh 2012

The United Fresh Foundation and partner produce companies have rallied to make fresh and healthy salad bars a reality in Texas schools. The Foundation and partners have set a goal to donate 100 salad bars to schools in the state that will host United Fresh 2012, and are asking industry colleagues to join in the charitable commitment. The cost to sponsor a salad bar is $2,500. More information on how to donate is available here.

“Salad bars are a sustainable investment in the health of children, teaching the next generation of produce consumers to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from an early age,” says Dan’l Mackey Almy, United Fresh Nutrition & Health Council Chairwoman and President of the Irving, Texas-based produce industry marketing firm DMA Solutions. “This campaign gives schools the unique opportunity to turn lunchtime into a teachable moment by educating kids about nutritious and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables while giving them choices about what they eat. Texas is a significant market for our industry and as we come together in Dallas this May for United Fresh, let’s create a positive impact by funding salad bars.”

According to Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health, “Research and school experience shows that students eat more fresh produce when they have a salad bar that provides a variety of colorful choices of fruits and vegetables every school day. School salad bars are one of the easiest ways for schools to meet the new national school lunch standards, which call for doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables served everyday at lunch. Schools that have salad bars also make it easy for students to ‘Make Half Their Plate Fruits and Vegetables,’ as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

On May 1, United will host a press event to announce the donation of new salad bars for Dallas-area schools. United will recognize sponsors at the event and at the United Fresh 2012 Opening General Session. Sponsoring companies will be featured prominently in signage and printed materials at the convention, as well as on the United Fresh and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools websites. Most importantly, the donation of salad bars showcases the major health benefits of fruits and vegetables and the produce industry’s commitment to combating childhood obesity.

United is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, a national initiative that has donated salad bars to more than 1,000 schools nationwide, increasing children’s access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunch every day. Last spring at United Fresh 2011, salad bars were donated to 33 New Orleans schools. The event attracted schools administrators, students, government officials, community advocates and produce company donors.

To learn more about how you can make a difference in Dallas and support salad bars for Texas schools, contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager at 202-303-3407.

Nominations Being Accepted for United Fresh Market Segment Boards

Nominations are now being accepted for open positions on each of United's four Market Segment Boards: Grower-Shipper, Fresh-Cut Processor, Wholesaler-Distributor and Retail-Foodservice. New board members will be announced and inducted at United Fresh 2012, May 1-3 in Dallas, Texas. Please click on the board of interest to see our current board members.

United's Market Segment Boards include a broad pool of talent from each business segment of the produce supply chain. Boards are empowered to identify, discuss and advance issues of importance within their market sector to ensure United Fresh is meeting specific business needs, addressing critical issues and implementing programs that deliver member value to each market segment. United Fresh Market Segment Boards provide a strong voice for each sector of the supply chain, so that together we can develop a United industry voice for all. 

Each board has up to 22 members predominately representing companies from their respective business sectors, as well as supplier and allied association members that work closely within a specific segment.

Terms of service for board members are two years. The boards meet three times a year in person and conduct additional business by phone and web conference.

In addition to the four Market Segment Boards, United's volunteer leadership also includes several cross-cutting expert advisory councils, each addressing a core business area within our industry. They include: Food Safety & Technology Council, Global Advisory Council, Government Relations Council, Nutrition & Health Council and Supply Chain Council. The five expert advisory councils are vertically integrated, including members from all sectors of the industry, in order to address common issues and challenges. We also invite industry members to consider volunteering for service on one of these expert councils. 

Only a limited number of seats on each Market Board will be open. All volunteers will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee for consideration, which will present the final slate of nominees for each board to the membership for election later this spring. Those interested in consideration by the Nominating Committee for service on one of these boards may contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400 by Wednesday, February 15.

Produce Traceability Initiative Update

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) has released an FYI update that includes a Chairman’s report, an FDA pilot project update and new resources. PTI is a voluntary, industry-wide effort designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current track and trace procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future. Industry participants cover every segment of the produce supply chain. The PTI is an industry-led, supply chain-wide Initiative governed by a 34-member Leadership Council.

To update you on what’s new with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), the January/February edition of PTI FYI includes:

  • A personal update from Cathy Green Burns, PTI Leadership Council chair
  • Why implementing the PTI is a priority for two leading companies – a buyer and a seller
  • How PTI volunteers are advising FDA’s fresh produce pilot project
  • New resources, including best practices for handling product substitutions and help coming soon for produce repackers and brokers
  • And more!

You can access this and past editions of PTI FYI on the PTI website in English, Spanish and French. For further assistance, contact PMA’s Ed Treacy, United Fresh’s Dan Vaché, CPMA’s Jane Proctor or Angela Fernandez at GS1 US.

GAPs and GMPs for HACCP-Based Food Safety for the Fresh Produce Industry

United Fresh is partnering with University of Georgia on the GAPs/HACCP workshop designed to establish an in-plant HACCP program for the fresh produce industry. The workshop will be held February 21-23 at the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Registration closes February 10, and United Fresh members receive discounted registration.

The three-day course will provide a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts, authorities from academia, industry and government. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs for the fresh produce industry.

In the hands-on laboratory participation the participants will learn to identify and prevent food safety hazards, set preventive/control measures and control limits, develop control and monitoring procedures and document and verify the results of their efforts, as established by the International HACCP Alliance.

The goal of the interactive sessions is to assist participants in developing a Food Safety Plan that they can implement in their specific operations.

This course is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. Successful completion of the course and exam earns HACCP certification!

Click here for more information or contact University of Georgia Program Specialist Eve Mayes at 706-542-2574.

Let United Fresh Treat You to Exceptional Dining at Dallas’ Finest Restaurants

Register today for United Fresh 2012 and you’ll be automatically entered for United’s Taste of Dallas giveaway! You could win a gift certificate to one of the 50 best restaurants in Dallas!

Every Thursday through April 26, 2012, United Fresh will draw three lucky winners from the United Fresh 2012 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor, FreshPoint Dallas. Watch for next week’s Inside United Fresh to see if you’re a winner.

Congratulations to this week’s winners! They’ll be enjoying fresh French flavors at Bistro 31, modern French-inspired Belgian dishes at Café Toulouse, or the soulfully creative plates at Private Social.

  • Bistro 31 - Mark Hurst, Hurst Berry Farms
  • Cafe Toulouse - Andrew Kesler, Jack in the Box, Inc.
  • Private Social - Daniel Larivee, Groupe Tomapure

Register now to be eligible to win a gift certificate to next week’s featured restaurants: Bob’s Steakhouse and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is an Italian Renaissance-style estate that was transformed into a world-class restaurant and hotel. The Mansion retains the intimate ambiance of the private residence it once was, while boasting a sophisticated five diamond restaurant. Led by Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon, the menu reveals the brilliance of simplicity while maximizing flavor and texture in dishes such as slow roasted pheasant breast and leg with Brussels sprouts and caramelized apple or seared diver scallops over cauliflower purée with osetra caviar, Meyer lemon and black trumpet.

Bob’s Steak & Chop House combines simple elegance, a lively atmosphere, stiff drinks, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood into a classic steakhouse experience. Prime ribeye, Porterhouse and filet mignon cuts are favorites, along with broiled salmon and cold water southern Australian lobster tail.

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2012 Supporters

The 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:

  • Amcor Flexibles, Hagerstown, MD

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.

  • Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH, Germany
  • Millstream Farms, Dunn, NC

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.

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