October 11, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Fresh Highlights from the Washington Public Policy Conference

The 2012 Washington Public Policy Conference was a huge success and we’ve gathered all the highlights from the exciting week. Check out the photo gallery with day-by-day snapshots of all the big events and UnitedFresh.TV where you'll find videos of the March on Capitol Hill, Fresh Festival, 35 & Under Fresh Impact Panel, and more!

Tune in to UnitedFresh.TV here!


Continue the March on Capitol Hill Momentum: Take Action Today!

Carter McEntire, CEO of McEntire Produce meets with a congressional staffer during the March on Capitol Hill.

Grassroots advocacy is more than two days in Washington, DC – it’s continuing to let Congress know the priorities of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, and here’s what you can do right now to make sure that happens:

Tell Congress where you stand before the November 6 presidential and congressional elections!

Signing your name will let Congress know that you need them to strongly consider the following issues that affect your business: the Farm Bill, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the labor crisis in agriculture, and the economic and regulatory challenges that face the nation.

Thank You for Making WPPC The Produce Industry’s Most Powerful Public Policy Event!

Leadership Class 18 Blends Politics and Produce During Mid-Atlantic Trip

Leadership Class 18, along with DuPont’s Dave McAuliffe and Travis Hill, enjoy a tour of John Rice’s seventh generation family business, Rice Fruit Company.

Leadership Class 18’s Cory Oliver, H-E-B, Catherine Baggott, Earthbound Farm, Cristie Mather, Pear Bureau Northwest, Jamie Brannen, Curry & Company, and Jerald Morgenthal, Castellini Company, take a break and gather at the 2012 WPPC’s new member and first time attendee welcome reception.

The twelve members of United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Class 18 recently convened for the second time during their program year, starting their trip in Washington, DC for the United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, then continuing on to Pennsylvania and Delaware, concluding their trip in Maryland.

Starting the trip with the WPPC enabled the class to engage in important policy discussions impacting the industry and to network with hundreds of members, as well as a myriad of leadership program alumni, at the event. The class took part in all aspects of the conference from the advocacy training and workshops, to visits to Capitol Hill, and even introduced several keynote speakers during the general sessions.

Following their stay in Washington, DC, they headed north to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to learn about the history of this critical battlefield site during the Civil War. From there, the class traveled to Gardners, Pennsylvania for a visit to Rice Fruit Company, where family member John Rice, vice president, led the group on a tour of their apple orchards and packing house. Additional stops in Pennsylvania included an Amish produce auction, followed by a visit at Four Seasons Produce, where Class 15 Leadership Alumnus Jason Hollinger, director of procurement, hosted a luncheon and tour of their expansive facility.

Next stop for the class was in Wilmington, Delaware, site of DuPont's corporate headquarters, for meetings with DuPont Crop Protection executives and researchers, including an exclusive tour of the Stine-Haskell Research Center. Their time in Wilmington included an intense training session on Crisis Communications, facilitated by DuPont's veteran crisis communications expert, Gil Meyer.

Finally, the class concluded their trip in Maryland at DuPont’s Chesapeake Farms, a natural reserve devoted to the development of advanced agricultural practices and wildlife management. In addition to a crash-course in media training led by Ray Gilmer, United's vice president of communications, the class enjoyed some relaxation and a tour of the 3,330-acre farm.

The next meeting for the class will take place in Florida this January, followed by their final trip in May to the United Fresh 2013 convention in San Diego. The Produce Industry Leadership Program is presented through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Development and is made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, sponsor of the program since its inception in 1995. For more information about the program, please contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405.

Don’t Miss Recent Fresh Produce Trends in Q2 FreshFacts® on Retail

Fresh produce continued an upward trend of dollar and volume sales in the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest edition of FreshFacts® on Retail, the quarterly retail research report of the United Fresh Foundation. The report also pointed out that average retail prices continued to fluctuate, resulting in an overall increase in prices for fruits, while vegetables saw a decrease. The organic and value-added fruit and vegetable categories fared well, with significant dollar and volume growth compared to the second quarter last year.

The FreshFacts® on Retail report, produced in partnership with the Nielsen Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, measures retail price and sales trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities, as well as value-added, organic and other produce categories.

Highlights of this quarter’s report include:

  • Eight of the top 10 fruits and five of the top 10 vegetables posted dollar sales that exceeded Q2 2012.
  • Berries, cherries and avocados were the primary drivers of both dollar and volume growth in the fruit category, and corn led the way in the vegetable category.
  • Value-added fruits continued upward growth in dollar sales and price, up 9.2% and 9.0% respectively.
  • Value-added vegetables increased weekly dollar and volume sales; this growth was relatively unaffected by retail price.
  • Organic produce had double-digit increases in both dollars and volume. Organic vegetables increased dollar sales nearly 15% and organic fruit increased dollar sales 20.3%.

The complete FreshFacts® on Retail report can be downloaded free of charge for all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members) by clicking here. For more information about how to obtain the report, please contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405. For questions about specific data contained in the report, please contact Kelli Beckel at the Perishables Group at 773-929-7013.


Updated State Fruit and Vegetable Profiles Now Available

The fresh fruit and vegetable industry has a profound effect on all 50 states, according to updated state profiles released by United Fresh. The data in the series reveals that all 50 states grow and sell fresh produce, and the profiles also include acreage, farms, employment and production value for each state.

“The state profiles highlight the impact that the fresh produce industry has on the health and economy of every state in the country,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “Last week, Washington Public Policy Conference attendees delivered this data to their senators and representatives to drive home the importance of passing a Farm Bill, and we encourage members to refer to these profiles in their advocacy efforts.”

The profiles examine each state’s share of the Farm Bill Specialty Crop Block Grants, WIC program funding and funding allotment for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, showcasing projects and success stories for each.

The state profiles also detail the impact of adult and childhood obesity and diabetes in each state, as well as the number of participants in federal feeding programs such as the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

Data used in the reports come from federal and industry research sources. The profiles are available free of charge at www.UnitedFresh.org or by clicking here.

United Fresh Provides Produce Perspective at Retail Sustainability Summit

United Fresh participated in the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) Sustainability Summit following the Washington Public Policy Conference, October 4-5. TPA is a cooperative effort between the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to develop a shared food retailer-manufacturer agenda on supply chain efficiency issues, application of information technology, and adoption of environmentally-friendly business practices.

Burleson Smith, United’s vice president of environmental affairs & sustainability, led a discussion during the Idea Exchange Luncheon on “Understanding Sustainability in Your Produce Supply Chain.” Smith described how maintaining produce quality, freshness and safety influence production and distribution decisions, and where conventional thinking about sustainability may conflict with the supply of fresh produce.

“It’s important to present the challenges of dealing with a biological system when so many of the solutions offered to improve sustainability are in the engineering realm. Retailers need to know what fruit and vegetable producers, distributors and the Center for Global Produce Sustainability are doing to address sustainability throughout the supply chain.”

For more information, please contact Burleson Smith, vice president of environmental affairs & sustainability, at 202-303-3400.


GLOBALG.A.P. National Technical Working Group Meeting

GLOBALG.A.P. North America has scheduled a meeting of its U.S. National Technical Working Group (NTWG) for Thursday, October 25 in Anaheim, CA. According to Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety & technology, and U.S. NTWG Coordinator, “GLOBALG.A.P. North America has launched its food safety-only Produce Safety Standard (PSS) for fruit and vegetables, and is looking for input from the NTWG on how auditors are to judge the requirements. PSS is the only standard based upon the Harmonized Standards that has been submitted to GFSI for benchmarking. GLOBALG.A.P. North America is making a good faith effort to maintain the integrity of the Harmonized Standards when implemented at the field audit level.”

Some of the topics to be covered at the October 25 NTWG meeting include an update on the Produce Safety Standard and its application of the Harmonized Standards; discussion of the “Tomato Metrics” proposed checklist riders for PSS, which are modified and additional control points designed specifically for the tomato industry; an update on GFSI benchmarking of PSS and re-benchmarking of GLOBALG.A.P.’s comprehensive Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard; and other topics of interest to U.S. stakeholders interested in GLOBALG.A.P.’s certification. The NTWG meeting will take place immediately after GLOBALG.A.P. North America’s two-day Public Workshop (IFA/PSS Fruit and Vegetables training), October 24-25, at the same location in Anaheim.

Please contact Dr. David Gombas at dgombas@unitedfresh.orgfor information about participating in the US. NTWG or attending the October 25th meeting. For more information about GLOBALG.A.P. North America’s Public Workshop on October 24-25, please contact Jonathan Needham at needham@globalgap.org.

Study Shows Even Small Increase in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Could Prevent Thousands of Cancer Cases
Dean Taylor

United Fresh, Produce Marketing Association and Western Growers Association welcomed a new peer reviewed study that concluded an estimated 20,000 cancers could be prevented if half of all Americans simply increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables by a single serving per day. Published in the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, the study further substantiates decades of nutritional research which shows that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables improves health.

Because some Americans have concerns about pesticide residues on their food, the study also examined potential cancer risk from residues. The study concluded, “The overwhelming difference between benefit and risk estimates provides confidence that consumers should not be concerned about cancer risks from consuming conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.”

It should be noted that despite the recommendations of the government, health experts, consumer advocates and environmental groups to eat more conventional and organic fruits and vegetables, consumption has stagnated in recent years. We are hopeful that the simple and powerful message this study conveys of how important it can be to add even a single serving of produce to our diets will have a positive impact on consumers.

This study clearly illustrates that the key message for consumers is to choose either conventionally or organically grown fruits and vegetables with confidence, but remember to eat more for better health.

View the peer reviewed study abstract here.

For more information, please contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United’s vice president of nutrition & health, at 202-303-3400.


PTI Update: Shared Commitment to PTI Creates Business
Dean Taylor

Scott Farms and Food Lion’s shared commitment to PTI has laid the perfect foundation for a successful business relationship.  Four years ago, Scott Farms, a third generation family farm in North Carolina, began taking a proactive stance on food traceability and safety, working diligently to become PTI compliant. As a result of a successful PTI pilot program with Food Lion, one of the largest supermarket companies in the United States, Scott Farms was able to gain new business and now provides sweet potatoes to many of Food Lion’s 1,100 stores. More on how PTI implementation led to a business boost and other news from the industry are available in the recently released FYI Update.

The September/October edition of the Produce Traceability Initiative FYI also includes:

  • Guidance on Using EDI 856 Advance Ship Notice/Manifest Transaction Set (ASN)
  • PTI Website Makeover Focused on Implementation
  • PMA's Fresh Summit to Feature PTI Education, Networking, Expo
  • Shared Commitment to PTI Brings Scott Farms and Food Lion Together for Business
  • Select Articles Discussing PTI Progress
  • 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
Welcome New Members!

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

  • Adept Technology, Inc., Pleasanton, 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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

2013 Produce Executive Development Program 
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
United Fresh 2013
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA