August 30, 2012
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Keeps Focus on Agriculture at Republican National Convention

(L-R) United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel, PRO*ACT CEO Steve Grinstead, Nanci Heptinstall, IFCO Systems President & General Manager, RPC, Management Services Fred Heptinstall, and DiMare Company Vice President Tony DiMare at annual Great American Farm Luncheon.

Michael Dykes, vice president, government affairs, Monsanto, (L) and United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel listen to Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black’s (R) perspective on current agriculture issues at a GOP convention breakfast.

Tom Stenzel, president & CEO, and Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, represented United Fresh this week at the Republication National Convention. They joined nearly 50,000 others who braved the weather in Tampa for the event.

"The conventions are always exciting and important events for us to attend," said Guenther. "I was able to spend time with United members in the area, many who participate in the convention, and together we've had meaningful, informal discussions with key members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees."

United was also a proud co-sponsor of the Great American Farm Luncheon, an annual event that brings together agriculture groups to discuss policy issues. United has joined with industry allies to co-sponsor the event for the past four conventions.

The event attracted nearly 350 attendees, as well as House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, Senator Mike Johannes, Senator John Thune and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, among others.

Stenzel and Guenther also participated in an event hosted by CropLife America, where agriculture commissioners from several states shared their perspectives on immigration, regulatory reform, food safety, and other issues affecting their state’s agriculture economies.

 

School Day Just Got Healthier! More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables on the Menu

Montgomery County student selects fresh vegetables for his salad as new school meal rules requiring more fruits and vegetables take effect.

Marla Caplon, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Montgomery County Public Schools, interviews with a television crew about how her district is implementing the new school meal rules and the positive responses from students.

This school year students will be enjoying many more fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch. From baskets of fresh fruit to colorful salad bars, students will have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetable to choose thanks to new nutrition standards that double the amount of fruits and vegetables served daily, require a colorful variety of dark green, red and orange vegetables every week and require both fruit and vegetables to be served every day. Nationwide, 32 million kids in over 101,000 schools are now enjoying healthier school meals.

“Especially for fruits and vegetables, the significance of the new nutrition standards for school meals cannot be overstated; it’s been 15 years since USDA last updated school meals. Every day, kids will have more fruit and vegetable choices at school and fresh produce distributors/wholesalers will have tremendous opportunities to build strong partnerships with schools,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health. “Schools are demanding more fresh fruits and vegetables to improve children’s eating habits and meet the new nutrition standards. This is fresh produce’s time to shine!”

United Fresh has been a vocal advocate for these changes, participating in Congressional and USDA meetings for many years and raising media awareness about the need to improve the healthfulness of school meals. The 2012-13 school year marks the implementation of new comprehensive nutrition standards that increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk; and reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans-fat in meals. The final rule, “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs,” can be read in full here.

The media has also taken note of the healthier school meals. Yesterday, Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy & grassroots coordinator, accompanied media to Flora M. Singer Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD to see students’ reactions to healthier school lunches. Marla Caplon, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Montgomery County Public Schools, said, “If kids have access to great tasting, colorful fresh produce, they will eat it.” All of Montgomery County’s elementary schools offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday and many have salad bars. Jessica Shelly, one of United’s salad bar superstars and Director of Food Service for Cincinnati Public Schools was also quoted in US News and World Reports about healthier school meals this week.

United Fresh is a longtime advocate of improving child nutrition through wider access to fresh fruit and vegetables and is a founding partner of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation and has donated salad bars to more than 1,600 schools nationwide.

For more information, please contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.

 

WPPC Serves Up Networking Opportunities with FreshPAC Dinner, Fine Dining Options

Last year's PAC event attracted attendees from each market segment for a relaxing evening of networking and fine dining.

The produce industry makes an undeniable impact with meetings with lawmakers at the Washington Public Policy Conference, but the action continues on Capitol Hill into the evenings with the United FreshPAC dinner and time to explore other fine dining options.

On the evening of Monday, October 1, produce industry leaders will gather to support the critical role the United FreshPAC plays in building strategic relationships with friends in Congress. The FreshPAC dinner will take place on the rooftop terrace of Charlie Palmer Steak, one of the most impressive vantage points in the whole city with a spectacular view of the Capitol. After-dinner entertainment will be provided by Capitol Steps, the nation’s top satirical comedy troupe, with a lighthearted take on politics.

“The PAC’s activities not only establish and maintain relations with Washington’s policymakers, but also support our industry’s interests. We want to support the people who back our interests and make sure their re-election efforts are successful. United Fresh is the strongest association for government relations that is representing the produce industry in Washington,” explained Mike Wootton, Sunkist Growers, Inc. Senior Vice President and treasurer for the Sunkist Growers PAC.

Then, after an exciting first day of congressional visits on Capitol Hill and the popular Fresh Festival reception, attendees will have Tuesday night available to enjoy fine dining in the nation’s capitol. United Fresh staff recently shared their favorite fine dining options for Tuesday night, which are ideal for catching up with industry colleagues and business partners. So prepare your palate for the most creative and memorable cuisine the area has to offer!

Komi - I took my husband there for his birthday the first year we were dating. I finally understood what he meant when he said he was a foodie (great food, but not cheap!). Haven’t been able to get a reservation since!
Victoria Backer, SVP Member Services, Foundation

Rasika - The best Indian restaurant in DC and one of the best in the country. Incredible flavors, outstanding service, and fun!
Lorelei DiSogra, VP Nutrition & Health

Filomena Ristorante – Their pasta is made onsite with great service, huge portions and a high energy environment. Great for big dinner parties and having fun. Most authentic Italian cuisine that you’ll find in DC.
Ray Gilmer, VP Communications

Vidalia – Features American cuisine with a Southern accent and a great high-end wine list.
Dave Gombas, SVP Food Safety & Technology

Graffiatos – An amazing Italian-inspired restaurant with great food and fun atmosphere.
Robert Guenther, SVP Public Policy

Two Amy’s - Gourmet, Neapolitan pizza in a cute little place that true Washingtonians know is the best pizza around. It’s always a popular spot, but you can snack on bruschetta, salt cod croquettes and other amazing starters in the back bar while you wait.”
Shelby Rajkovich, Communications Manager

Indigo Landing - Great deck on the Potomac River adjacent to sailing marina just past National Airport. It’s where I proposed to my wife Kathy. And we just celebrated our wedding anniversary this week!
Tom Stenzel, President & CEO

Zaytinya- Yummy, modern Greek/Mediterranean tapas from James Beard Outstanding Chef Award winner Jose Andres. And it won’t hurt your pocketbook!
Angela Tiwari, Political Affairs Manager

Poste – The setting is a beautiful courtyard in a historic building and they have a number of inventive dishes and great vegetarian options. Their fall seasonal crepes are one of my favorite dishes ever.
Miriam Wolk, Senior Director, Membership

Plan ahead and make reservations by visiting www.OpenTable.com or click on any of the restaurants listed above. If you have a restaurant suggestion you would like to share send it to wppc@unitedfresh.org or post it on the United Fresh Facebook wall!

For more information on the FreshPAC dinner or the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

 

Thank You to Our Washington Public Policy Conference Sponsors!

Thank you to all of the sponsors who make the Washington Public Policy conference possible.

Your support and efforts help us build a fantastic event that strengthens the industry’s voice on priority issues and makes great strides towards accomplishing our goals to create a better produce industry.

We encourage our members to thank our sponsors for supporting our cause!

PLATINUM

  • Amcor
  • C.H Robinson
  • Chiquita Brands
  • Del Monte Fresh Produce
  • Tanimura & Antle
  • N2N Global
  • HarvestMark
  • Produce News
  • Meister Publications
  • Produce Business Magazine
  • Fresh Cut Magazine

GOLD

  • Apio
  • Four Seasons Produce
  • Fox Packaging
  • Frontera Produce
  • Grimmway Farms
  • IFCO Systems
  • Monsanto
  • Paramount Citrus
  • Rio Queen Citrus
  • AndNowUKnow.com
  • Packer Publications

SILVER

  • California Giant
  • Castellini Company
  • Duda Farm Fresh Foods
  • Famous Software
  • Gills Onions
  • Potandon Produce
  • PRO*ACT, LLC
  • Sun World International
  • Sunkist, Inc

BRONZE

  • MIXTEC Group

If your company would like to showcase your support, opportunities are still available at WPPC. Want to discuss an opportunity that best achieves your marketing goals? Please contact John Toner, vice president of convention & industry relations, at 202-303-3424.

 

WPPC Discounted Housing Rates End September 4

Hotel rooms are filling quickly for the Washington Public Policy Conference. Reserve your room now to take advantage of discounted housing rates at the Liaison Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Washington Capitol Hill – register today!

Feel the energy that comes from being in downtown Washington: walk to the Smithsonian and the National Mall, tour government centers, experience monuments and historical landmarks - all just minutes from our Capitol Hill hotels. Hurry, these special rates are only available until Tuesday, September 4. Book Your Housing Today!

For more information on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

 

National Food Safety Education Month to Debunk Common Food Safety Myths

September is National Food Safety Education Month and United Fresh is joining with the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education to introduce Home Food Safety Mythbusters to consumers. This year’s campaign features four myths, presented throughout the month of September with the facts consumers need to know to reduce their risk of food poisoning:

  • MYTH: “If I microwave food, the microwaves kill the bacteria, so the food is safe."
  • MYTH: “Of course I wash all bagged lettuce and greens because it might make me sick if I don’t.”
  • MYTH: “I don’t need to use a food thermometer. I can tell when my food is cooked by looking at it or checking the temperature with my finger.”
  • MYTH: “I can’t re-freeze foods after I have thawed them – I have to cook them or throw them away.”

“Food safety education is a critical part of our public health prevention strategy,” said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Everyone along the farm-to-table chain—growers, manufacturers, transporters, retailers and consumers—has a responsibility for food safety.”

About one in six Americans, nearly 48 million people, will get a foodborne illness this year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. The Partnership launched Mythbusters in 2009 to address common food safety myths and to give consumers actionable steps they can follow to protect themselves and their families from food poisoning.

“This year’s myths explain how to handle common food safety situations in the kitchen that all consumers encounter, even if they are preparing a simple meal,” said Shelley Feist, the Partnership’s Executive Director. “We want to encourage specific food safe behaviors as a way to help consumers Fight BAC!”

For more information, including Mythbusters educational materials, games for children, and more, please visit www.fightbac.org.

 

Harmonized Standards, Tomato Metrics Workshop Registration Closing Soon!

Registration is nearing capacity for the Produce GAPs Harmonization Auditor Training & Tomato Metrics workshop, September 11-13, held at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD. Register now to reserve your seat!

The first two days will feature the official training materials developed by the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Calibration Committee. The training is designed to calibrate auditors in food safety expectations of growing and harvesting operations using the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Standards and is the final Train-the-Trainer workshop offering in 2012.

“While the Harmonized Standards go a long way to reducing the potential for conflicting food safety expectations, it all comes down to the auditor,” said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety & technology. “Having a single standard doesn’t reduce audit fatigue if different auditors interpret the standards in different ways. This workshop was developed to better calibrate auditors from different audit organizations in how the Harmonized Standards are supposed to be used. We’ll cover the details of what an auditor should expect to see at an operation, how an auditor should judge that operation based on the evidence they see, and how that judgment can change in different situations.”

The program also offers an additional third day, targeted to those auditors and operations interested in GlobalG.A.P. Produce Safety certification to meet buyers’ requirements for a GFSI audit. The September 13 session will also feature discussion on how the Tomato Metrics have been incorporated into the Harmonized Standards and the GlobalG.A.P Produce Safety certification.

Please note that you must attend the first two days of the workshop in order to complete the Auditor Training course. The third day is optional, for those interested in the GlobalG.A.P Produce Safety certification or Tomato Metrics.

Participation in the workshop is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of USDA, GlobalG.A.P NSF and California Tomato Farmers, and is open to all interested parties. This is the last workshop planned for 2012, and there are limited spots available, so register now! 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.

 

Only a Few Spots Remain in Hands-on Produce Inspection Course

USDA instructor demonstrates inspection techniques in hands-on lab.

Don’t let your team miss out on this valuable educational offering, only a few spots remain! The upcoming United Fresh Produce Inspection Training Program is designed to bring clarity to the produce inspection process and is a great opportunity for new employees or those who may need a refresher.

The September 10-14 course is 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.

 

New Member Welcome

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

  • Browning and Sons, Inc. Madison, FL
  • RoyalHalo, Mexico City, Mexico

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:

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