August 09, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Bring Your Up-and-Coming Professionals to DC to Learn From Young Policy Leaders

Is your company’s next generation of leaders ready to represent your business before federal lawmakers and regulators? Join us for this year’s Fresh Impact Panel, which gives the next generation of produce industry leaders a chance to connect with their peers and engage in a critical discussion about the future of the industry. The October 1 session, a highlight of the Advocacy & Grassroots Seminar, will feature six leaders—all under the age of 35—at the forefront of agricultural policy in Washington. This influential panel of up-and-coming policymakers joins United Fresh members for a fresh and unconventional look at the process of connecting with members of Congress and administration officials about produce industry priorities.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to have your company’s up-and-coming leaders to network at the Produce Industry’s Most Powerful Public Policy Event!

  • Chris Adamo
    Majority Staff Director, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, U.S. Senate
  • Dottie Bond
    Legislative Associate, The Russell Group
  • Kasey Gillette
    Policy Advisor for Agriculture, Senate Majority Leader Reid
  • Joel Leftwich
    Minority Deputy Staff Director, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, U.S. Senate
  • Nick Mascari
    New Business Development, Indianapolis Fruit Company, Inc.
  • Matt Mika
    Director, Government Relations, Tyson Foods
  • Trista Etzig
    PMP, Project Manager, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, USDA

“These leaders display their unbridled passion for the agriculture industry in the halls of Congress and truly represent the next generation of policymakers. Even with their youth, they have a seasoned ability to artfully communicate complex agricultural policy issues to lawmakers and constituents,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “Our members will find real benefit in hearing their fresh perspective on engaging policymakers and preparing more young leaders to build industry success.”

The Advocacy & Grassroots seminar offers a chance to learn simple and effective strategies to strengthen our produce industry’s voice. Grassroots experts will share insights into the factors that motivate elected officials, top techniques for effective communication, and the secrets of working with staff directly from the staff themselves. As the industry prepares to take our message to Capitol Hill, this session will prepare members on how to be more impactful advocates.

Register Today for The Produce Industry’s Most Powerful Public Policy Event!


Help Protect the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Student snacks on an apple at a Maryland school that participates in FFVP.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) has come under attack during deliberations on the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate supports keeping the program intact, but a bill passed by the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee would allow all processed fruits and vegetables in the program, when these products already make up more than 96% of all USDA fruit and vegetable purchases. Kids need fresh produce! United supports the original content of the program which provided only fresh fruits and vegetables and dried fruit as snacks. Your voice and advocacy are needed now.

The FFVP benefits more than 3 million low-income elementary school students in over 7,000 schools nationwide by providing a fresh fruit or vegetable snack every day. The FFVP has transformed kids’ eating habits, created healthier school food environments and created many sales opportunities for fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in schools.

The Farm Bill is your business – especially if you want more fresh fruits and vegetables in schools.

Join us, Tuesday, August 21 at 3 p.m. ET to hear from top school officials and policy experts about the importance of protecting this program in the 2012 Farm Bill. Learn how you can play a key role in maintaining a strong federal investment in fruits and vegetables in the 2012 Farm Bill and the challenges that lie ahead as the Farm Bill makes its way to the president to become law.

Sign up today for United’s Summer Webinar Series and get up-to-date information on the most comprehensive agriculture policy legislation moving through Congress today. The 2012 Farm Bill is the cornerstone for nearly all federal agriculture policy and all of us need to engage to make sure the produce industry’s needs are addressed.

This webinar is part of a four-part series featuring monthly, one-hour webinars. All sessions will be recorded and accessible to all registered participants. The webinar series is free for United Fresh members and only $149 for non-members. Click here to sign up today!

For more information on the Summer Webinar Series click here or contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


Harris Teeter Announces Text-to-Donate Campaign for Salad Bars

Harris Teeter has launched a “Text-to-Donate” campaign designed to bring salad bars to schools and support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. In collaboration with United Fresh, a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, and ten produce suppliers, Harris Teeter will donate salad bars to at least 10 schools. These salad bars will benefit more than 5,000 students by providing them a healthy lunch option filled with fresh produce.

The “Text-to-Donate” campaign will run August 19 through September 15. Shoppers can donate $5 by texting “SALAD” to 80077 or they can visit to give securely online. The “Text-to-Donate” campaign will accept donations through October 11, 2012. Fresh Express, a campaign partner and a major supplier of ready-to-eat salads, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, will match shopper donations up to $15,000.

“Salad bars are an effective way for schools to meet new school meal guidelines, which call for a doubling of the amount of fruits and vegetables served,” explained Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United’s vice president of nutrition & health. “This is an exciting campaign that will surely raise the visibility of salad bars as an impactful strategy for increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.”

The salad bar donations will be made possible by the generous contributions of the following companies/individuals: Harris Teeter shoppers, Chiquita Brands, Alpine Fresh, Modern Mushrooms, Monterey Mushrooms, California Giant Berry Farms, Apio, Wholly Guacamole, National Mango Board, National Watermelon Promotion Board, Marie’s Dressings and Harris Teeter.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools was developed to provide salad bars to schools across the country to increase children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables and to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. To date, more than 1,600 salad bars have been donated to schools nationwide through Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.

For more information, please contact Andrew Marshall, United’s policy & grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407.


United Fresh Accepting Nominations for Advocate of the Year Award

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel (far right) and Immediate Past Chairman Reggie Griffin (far left) present the Advocate of the Year Award to representatives of the 2011 winners: Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and the National Watermelon Association.

The Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award pays special recognition to one company a year that serves as an advocate for the entire produce industry. Honorees are leaders that make an impact and drive the industry forward. United Fresh is proud to open the nomination process to the full fresh fruit and vegetable industry.

"These advocates utilize their position to drive the industry forward," said Robert Guenther, United's senior vice president of public policy. "It’s always difficult to choose one advocate from the nominations received; it is always a very competitive, devoted and deserving group."

The award recipient is selected using the following criteria: demonstration of outstanding support for public policy advocacy with their federally elected leaders; diligent work on federal policy objectives to advance the fresh produce industry; active involvement with produce industry political initiatives such as the Washington Public Policy Conference, Grassroots Action Network and United FreshPAC; and United Fresh membership. The recipient of this year’s award will be announced at the 2012 Washington Public Policy Conference.

United Fresh Advocate of the Year Award Winners:
2011 - Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, National Watermelon Association, Inc.
2010 - C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
2009 - Pro*Act, LLC 2008 - Walter P. Rawl & Sons
2007 - New York Apple Association, Inc.
2006 - Sunkist Growers, Inc.
2005 - L & M Companies
2004 - Produce for Better Health Foundation
2003 - Tanimura & Antle
2002 - Capital City Fruit Company, Inc

Click here to nominate an outstanding company or associationNominations must be received no later than August 31, 2012. For more information on the United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award, contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


GAO Issues Report on FDA’s Recall Process, FDA Reinspection Fees Posted

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report to Congress titled FDA’s Food Advisory and Recall Process Needs Strengthening. This report was issued as a requirement under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The report includes several recommendations that are of particular importance the fresh produce industry, including possible compensation mechanisms for erroneously ordered recalls or food-related advisories, clarification of the mandatory recall process, and improvement to external communications regarding recalls. Click for the report summary and the full report.

In last week’s Federal Register, the FDA announced it 2013 Fiscal Year fee rates for domestic and foreign facility reinspections, importer reinspections, and failure to comply with a recall order. These fees were authorized by the FDA under the Food Safety Modernization Act and were first implemented in the 2012 Fiscal Year. The Federal Register notice advises that the hourly, per person, rates for FY 2013 are $221 if domestic travel is required and $289 if foreign travel is required. The rates are slightly lower than in FY 2012. The new rates become effective on October 1, 2012. FDA is accepting comments about the new fees through October 31, 2012. The notice is available in full.

For more information, please contact Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy, at 202-303-3400.


Center for Global Produce Sustainability Advisory Board Looks to the Future

The United Fresh Center for Global Produce Sustainability Advisory Board met in Chicago today to discuss ways to promote and measure sustainability practices in the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

“Farmers are the original proponents of sustainability since wise management of the land and natural resources is essential to long-term success,” said Burleson Smith, United Fresh vice president of environmental affairs & sustainability.  “Many of our members are highly interested in what they can do to track sustainability practices in their operations, and to learn new methods to enhance their businesses.” 

The Center for Global Produce Sustainability was founded through a multi-year grant from Bayer CropScience. The Advisory Board is chaired by Nikki Rodoni, Gills Onions, and consists of leaders throughout the supply and demand chain. The group’s next meeting will take place October 1 in Washington, DC as part of this year’s Washington Public Policy Conference.

For more information, please contact Burleson Smith at 202-303-3427.


United Fresh CEO to Visit Chicago Produce Market

Lisa Strube addresses a town hall at the Chicago Produce Market in 2009.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel will visit with merchants on the Chicago International Produce Market Friday August 10 to talk about industry issues and hear any concerns from wholesalers in this important market. The Chicago market is well represented in United’s leadership, with Lisa Strube of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. serving as vice chair of the Wholesaler-Distributor Board and as a member of the overall Board of Directors, as well as Steve Serck of JAB Produce serving on United’s Supply Chain Logistics Council. 

“Wholesalers across the country have always played a major role in United,” Stenzel said.  “It’s great to spend some time seeing many old friends in Chicago, and building new relationships to help advance our industry.” 

For more information about United’s programs and services for the wholesale produce community, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Sharpen Your Produce Inspection Skills with Upcoming Webinar, Inspection Course

The produce inspection process can be daunting, but upcoming United Fresh and USDA education opportunities are designed to bring clarity for the produce supply chain.

USDA will host a Fresh Produce Market Inspection Basics webinar on August 16. Webinar speaker Harry Fisher of the Specialty Crop Inspection Division of USDA’s AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program will deliver a practical depiction of the inspection process, covering such topics as how to request an inspection, interpreting an inspection certificate and how to appeal an inspection result. The webinar is free, but space is limited, so register today!

This one-hour webinar offers a brief introduction to the inspection process. For those ready for detailed instruction, join us at United’s Produce Inspection Training Program, September 10-14, the produce industry’s only USDA-instructed inspection training program. Hosted at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia, this is a hands-on course designed to help produce industry receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the complexities of the produce inspection process.

In addition to learning all facets of produce inspection process, the course also offers a commodity labs segment where attendees spend three days doing hands-on commodity evaluations. The September lab will include grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes and up to seven additional produce items based on the most common requests of the class.

Class size is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the final training course of the year, so be sure to register your team today! The member registration fee for the 2-day fundamentals course is $895 and $1925 for the full week training. If three or more colleagues register for both courses at the same time they will each receive a $100 discount.

To learn more, please visit the United Fresh website or click here for Produce Inspection flyer and downloadable registration form. If you have any questions about this or any other United Fresh education program, contact Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3405.


Register Today for Workshop on Harmonized Standards, Tomato Metrics

The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Calibration Committee is excited to offer the second Harmonized Standards Train-the-Trainer workshop for auditors and all interested parties on the use and interpretation of the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Standards.

The three-day workshop, September 11-13, will be held at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD. The first two days will feature the official training materials developed by the Calibration Committee, designed to calibrate auditors in food safety expectations of growing and harvesting operations using the Harmonized Standards. The third day is targeted to those auditors and operations interested in GlobalG.A.P. Produce Safety certification to meet buyers’ requirements for a GFSI audit. The third day will also feature how the Tomato Metrics have been incorporated into the Harmonized Standards and the GlobalG.A.P Produce Safety certification.

Participation in the workshop is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of USDA, GlobalG.A.P and NSF, and is open to all interested parties. This is the last workshop planned for 2012, and there are limited spots available, so register soon! We are asking those who wish to attend to register using this form and return to Erin Grether, or call 202-303-3402.

More information about the Harmonized Standards, including downloadable versions of the Field Operations and Harvesting and the Post-harvest Operations standards, is available on the United Fresh website.


PTI Implementation Scorecard Results Valuable Resource for Companies

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) has released a new self-reporting PTI Implementation Scorecard to assess and communicate the progress achieved by the produce industry in implementing PTI milestones. The resource also includes scorecard results from members of PTI working groups with self-reported, voluntary data from these organizations. More on the scorecard is available in the recently released PTI FYI Update.

The July/August edition of the Produce Traceability Initiative FYI includes:

  • New Scorecard to Assist Companies with PTI Implementation
  • Charlie’s Produce: Path to PTI
  • JemD Farms’ Journey to Achieve Whole Chain Traceability
  • Case Study: Tracing Grapes from Chilean Field to U.S. Grocery
  • PTI Company Contacts Listed on Website
  • Produce-Specific EDI Now Spoken Here
  • And More!

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.

You can access this and past editions of PTI FYI on the PTI website in EnglishSpanish and French. For further assistance, please contact Dan Vaché, United’s vice president of supply chain management, at 425-629-6271.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Bella Fresh Phoenix, Inc., Phoenix, AZ
  • Jiangsu Ace Fresh Foods Ltd. Shanghai, China
  • Kelly Brothers, Inc., Exeter, CA

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

Join us for events designed to grow your business.

Summer Webinar Series: Nutrition & The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
August 21

Produce Inspection Training Program
September 10-14, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

Produce GAPs Harmonization Auditor Training
September 11-13, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD

Summer Webinar Series: The Produce Message to Congress
September 12

Washington Public Policy Conference
October 1-3, Washington, DC