January 17, 2013
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh FSMA Webinars Announced With Expert Partners

United Fresh has teamed up with the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to produce two webinars providing details about the FDA’s proposed Produce Rule and Preventive Controls Rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The webinars offer insights and analysis of the draft FSMA rules from FDA, university experts, and United Fresh food safety leaders and legal counsel.

The first webinar, which focuses on the proposed Produce Rule, will be held Thursday, February 7 at 11:00 am EST/8:00 am PST in partnership with the IAFP. The webinar is free for United members and registration can be completed online. Featured speakers on the webinar will be:

  • Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
  • Dr. Kali Kniel, University of Delaware, Vice Chair of the IAFP Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality Professional Development Group
  • Dr. David Gombas, Senior Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh
  • David Durkin, Legal Counsel, OFW Law

The second webinar, which will cover the proposed Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule, is scheduled for Monday, February 11 at 12:00-1:30 pm EST/9-10:30 am PST in partnership with the Institute of Food Technologists. Registration can be completed online. The webinar has a registration charge of $49. Featured speakers will be:

  • Dr. Samir Assar, Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSAN,
  • Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN,
  • Dr. David Gombas, Senior Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh

More information is available on the FSMA page of the United Fresh website. Members will also find resources about the FSMA proposed rules, including an FDA PowerPoint presentation summarizing the new rules, FDA fact sheets and the full text of both draft rules.


United Begins FSMA Rule Review Process

United’s FSMA review working groups held their first teleconference on Tuesday of this week, setting the stage for a series of meetings and webinars to review the proposed Produce Rule and proposed Preventive Controls Rule recently published by FDA. United’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy Robert Guenther and Senior Vice President for Food Safety Dr. David Gombas led the call with participation from members of the working groups, comprised of more than 100 industry food safety experts and allied trade associations that will review and develop comments for submission to FDA.

“There is a great deal of work to ensure the most stringent analysis of these proposed rules and their impact on produce companies representing a broad range of commodities and production cultures,” said Guenther. “We are off to a great start and we appreciate the time and expertise of the working groups in the review of these critically important draft rules.”

On the call, Guenther announced that Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA, will address members gathered at United’s Winter Leadership Meetings, January 29 in Tucson. Taylor’s address, via video conference, will give members a chance to hear the latest about FSMA implementation and ask questions of one of FDA’s top officials.  In addition, Dr. Samir Assar, Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSAN, will meet personally with the United Food Safety & Technology Council in Tucson.

The next web meetings of the FSMA Produce Rule Working Group and the FSMA Preventive Controls Working Group are scheduled for February 1. More information about United’s review of the draft rules can be found on the FSMA page of United’s website.


United Fresh Forms Agriculture Workforce Coalition to Advance Labor Solutions

Progress is being made towards a landmark farm labor solution, and United Fresh is ensuring that the needs of the produce industry are included.

United Fresh announced last Friday the formation of a broad new industry initiative to address the critical need for a reliable and practical agricultural workforce. The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) is a diverse group of organizations representing labor-intensive agriculture commodities, of which United Fresh is a founding partner.

Over the past few months, the Coalition has developed principles that can provide a framework in meeting both the current and future employment needs of agriculture, including those employers with seasonal labor needs and those who provide year-round employment opportunities. Further, the AWC proposes reform that includes both an agricultural worker program to provide access to a legal workforce into the future and an adjustment for current, experienced, unauthorized agricultural workers.

"Having a stable and viable workforce has never been more critical for our nation’s fruit and vegetable industry, and we must continue to fervently educate lawmakers about agriculture's crucial labor needs," said Tom Stenzel, president & CEO of United Fresh. "At this critical time, the AWC brings together the nation’s leading agriculture organizations, delivering our messages with a strong, unified voice, to work with Congress for forging a landmark farm labor solution."

Concurrently, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida laid out a framework for broader immigration reform that, among other things, recognizes the tremendous value of the foreign-born workforce to the U. S. economy, including to agriculture. The AWC has been in discussions with Senator Rubio and his office about how best to move forward with a new program to address the industry workforce goals.

For more information, please contact Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy, at 202-303-3400 or visit United’s Labor and Immigration Reform resource page.


United Fresh to Host January 24 Town Hall Luncheon in Yuma

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel gives an industry update at a town hall luncheon in California last year.

United Fresh and the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association will host a town hall luncheon for the local produce industry on Thursday, January 24 at the Radisson Hotel Yuma.

Topics will include managing the costs and challenges of the new food safety rules; the latest developments in immigration reform and potential impacts on the agricultural workforce; and opportunities to promote fruit and vegetable consumption to improve our nation’s health, increase sales and grow our industry’s future customer base.

“United’s town hall programs are a unique opportunity for us to meet with members in their local area and discuss how national issues impact their region, as well as their individual businesses,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.  “These forums provide an opportunity for our members to join the dialogue on important issues affecting their companies, as well as how they can engage with the association and contribute to a unified industry voice.”

Registration for this event is complimentary and lunch will be provided.  To register, or for more information, visit the United Fresh website, complete a registration form or contact Sophie Drayton, membership coordinator, at 202-303-3413.


Rising Leaders Sought for 19th Annual Produce Industry Leadership Program
Leadership Class 18 listens in to Wayne Brandt, president of Brandt farms on a trip to the field last year.

The application period is now open for the 19th annual class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program, presented by the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence. The program, made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, is a special opportunity for United Fresh members to advance their leadership skills and knowledge.

Launched in 1995, the Produce Industry Leadership Program is the only ongoing, fully paid leadership program for the produce industry. The program is developed around the four fundamental goals of leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public relations.

During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips which include face-to-face meetings with leading industry players, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year's schedule will feature expansive trips to Michigan, Ontario, Washington, DC, Wilmington, DE, Yuma, and Chicago. The class will graduate at the 2014 United Fresh Convention.

Participation in the program is limited to 12 fellows who are selected by an Advisory Committee, chaired this year by United Fresh Board member and program alumnus Lisa Strube of Strube Celery & Vegetable Company. The fellows are chosen from a broad cross-section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership. Since the program’s inception, more than 200 industry members have participated.

“The program is a year-long exploration of the many facets of the produce industry while teaching the professional skills and personal development that are vital to success,” said Strube. “It is a life-changing experience and an opportunity that I recommend to anyone who is committed to advancing their career.”

Candidates interested in applying for the program can download information and an application at unitedfreshfoundation.org. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 11, 2013. The Leadership Program is an exclusive program for United Fresh members only. There is no cost to participate in the program and all regular expenses are covered by the program. For more information, please contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.

Last Call for 2013 Retail Produce Manager Award Nominations

Nominate your produce manager to join the elite ranks of Retail Produce Manager Award recipients.

The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Leadership Excellence, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers at the United Fresh 2013 convention May 14-16 in San Diego. The deadline to submit a nomination is January 18.

The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program pays special recognition to produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception, over 170 managers from more than 60 different retail banners have been honored for their commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative merchandising, produce-related community outreach, and recognition among company peers.

“We salute the incredible work of these men and women who are delivering an exceptional produce experience every day to the consumer,” said Michael Solomon, President and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor this program and honored to have such dedicated and talented managers showcasing the best our industry has to offer.”

This year, 25 award winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh 2013 convention. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 16, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

Nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by January 18.

Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005, or contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.

Experience a Taste of San Diego at United Fresh 2013

Register today for United Fresh 2013 and you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of San Diego giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in San Diego!

Every Thursday through May 2, 2013, United Fresh will draw one lucky winner from the United Fresh 2013 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of San Diego's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor, Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc.

Congratulations to Mike Wise, Horton Fruit Company, who will receive a gift certificate to dine at Searsucker, where Top Chef finalist Chef Malarkey creates a fantastic eatery full of local fare, including fresh seafood caught on the San Diego coast as well as locally brewed lagers and ales on tap.

Register now for your chance at next week’s featured restaurant, Herringbone, where 100 year old olive trees grow between tables, lounge style tunes fill the air, and Chef Amanda Baumgarten serves up her own unique take on meat and seafood. 

The sooner you register, the greater your chances to win a certificate to one of these stellar restaurants:

Baci Ristorante
Bertrand at Mister A’s
Bully’s East
Donovan's Steak & Chop House
George’s at the Cove
Island Prime
Mille Fleurs
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
Pamplemousse Grill
Poseidon on the Beach
Ruth's Chris Steak House
The Marine Room
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
The Prado at Balboa Park

Learn more about these great restaurants and how you can experience a Taste of San Diego!

United Fresh to Discuss Food Safety, Exhibit at Fruit Logistica 2013

Last year’s Global Reception attracted many domestic and international members. We hope to see you in Berlin this year!

United Fresh will exhibit and hold special activities at Fruit Logistica, February 6-8 in Berlin, Germany. The United Fresh stand will be located in Hall 23/Stand F-12. Serving as the destination for members attending the exposition, the stand will be an opportunity to visit with United Fresh staff and colleagues for networking and industry dialogue, as well as updates on the United Fresh 2013 convention, executive development programs for global produce leaders and programs in food safety and supply chain management, research in consumer trends, fresh-cut and convenience trends and more.

United’s Senior Vice President of Food Safety & Technology Dr. David Gombas will represent the U.S. produce industry’s views on food safety audit standards at Fruit Logistica. As an invited member of GlobalGAP’s Crops Technical Committee and Microbiological Risk Assessment Stakeholders Committee, Dr. Gombas will participate in discussions with international stakeholders to advance harmonized produce safety standards.

 “United’s presence at Fruit Logistica provides a great opportunity to visit with our European-based members where they have operations,” said Jeff Oberman, vice president, trade relations.  “By providing a headquarters hotel and a destination within the exposition, we look forward to providing value to all United Fresh members from around the word attending the event.”

United Fresh will continue the annual tradition of hosting its Association Global Reception on Wednesday, February 6 from 17:00 – 19:00 in the United Fresh stand.  “We’re so pleased to continue our annual tradition of gathering our members and industry friends from around the world,” said Miriam Wolk, vice president of membership & marketing.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our members to network with friends and colleagues and form new industry relationships.”

United Fresh member Klaus Klische, Fresh Factory, will also host an informal welcome reception at the Berlin Marriott, the United Fresh Headquarters Hotel, on Tuesday, February 5 at 17:00 in the hotel lobby.

For more information on Fruit Logistica, please visit the United Fresh website or contact Jeff Oberman at 831-600-8922.

Make Plans to Celebrate a Produce Legend and Tee Off in Tournament
Welcome New Members!
Join us in celebrating the inspiring career of Frieda Caplan in Tucson on January 28.

United Fresh will honor Frieda Rapoport Caplan with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals for a lifetime of achievement and for lasting contributions to the fresh produce industry. The award will be presented at the new annual Produce Legends Dinner to be held each year in conjunction with the United Winter Leadership Meetings. This year’s dinner honoring Frieda Caplan will be held on Monday, January 28 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Friends and associates who wish to join in honoring Frieda are invited to participate in the dinner, as well as the Foundation’s benefit golf tournament earlier that day.

This year’s United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament will bring together produce buyers, sellers, suppliers and most of all, friends of the produce industry! Join us on this gem of a course for 18 holes of championship golf at one of America’s premier golf resorts. The Mountain Golf Course at Ventana Canyon is set in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and makes use of the spectacular desert terrain while preserving the integrity of the natural environment.  All proceeds from the golf tournament will go to the United Fresh Foundation. Funds raised from last year’s event helped the Foundation sustain important initiatives, such as the salad bar campaign, and meet other important goals.

Information on golf and dinner tickets and sponsorship is available here. For more information, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


Register by January 18 to Save Big on an Ivy League Education
Welcome New Members!
Opportunity is knocking! Don’t miss out on special tuition rates, register today.

For the past five years, the produce industry’s best and brightest executives have converged on Cornell’s campus for a five day, transformational education experience. Now it’s your turn. Be sure to register before January 18 to take advantage of the special tuition rates. Space is limited and the sell-out risk for this course is high.

Join top executives in the industry for the 2013 United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program, March 10-15. Presented in partnership with the esteemed Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, the program blends an Ivy-League learning environment with produce industry thought leaders, making for a unique experience that will dramatically impact your career. 

During this intensive five day course, you will be exposed to the latest business trends, master skills to navigate economic challenges and learn effective tools to advance your company. The small class size of 40 attendees enables the instructors to tailor the curriculum to your specific needs, allowing for a personalized learning experience.

Tuition for the program includes five nights lodging, course instruction, materials and supplies, breakfasts, luncheons and several special dinners. For United Fresh members, the registration fee is $4,995 if booked prior to January 18. Enrollment is limited to 40 participants. Last year’s course sold-out, so interested participants are encouraged to register early.

More information on the Produce Executive Development Program is available online or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters
Welcome New Members!

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 2013 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Field Fresh Foods, Inc., Gardena, CA

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 Vice President of Membership & Marketing Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

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

  • IFS Management GmbH, St. Louis, MO
  • Freedom Freight & Logistics, LLC, Visalia, CA
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, DC
  • Polehn, Farms, Inc., The Dalles, OR

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 831-600-8922 or Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Yuma Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
January 24, Radisson Hotel Yuma, Yuma, AZ

United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament & Produce Legends Dinner
January 28, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Winter Leadership Meetings
January 28-30, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

United Fresh at Fruit Logistica
February 5-8, Berlin, Germany

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