January 24, 2013
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh FSMA Webinars Announced as Member-Driven Review Continues

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 under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The webinars offer insights and analysis of the draft FSMA rule from FDA, university experts, and United Fresh food safety leaders and legal counsel.

FDA’s Proposed FSMA Produce Rule Webinar: Learn from the Experts
Thursday, February 7: 11:00 am-12:30 pm EST / 8:00-9:30 am PST
This webinar, in partnership with the IAFP, will cover the proposed Produce Rule and is free of charge. Featured speakers on the webinar will be:

  • Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN
  • David Durkin, Legal Counsel, OFW Law

The session will be moderated by Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh Senior Vice President, Food Safety and Technology, and Dr. Kali Kniel, University of Delaware, Vice Chair of the IAFP Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality Professional Development Group.

Produce Safety Standards: FDA and Industry Expert Insights Webinar
Monday, February 11: 12:00-1:30 pm EST / 9:00-10:30 am PST
This webinar, in partnership with the IFT, will cover the proposed Produce Rule. Join expert presenters to learn more on the content of the proposed rule, what implications may exist, and how this proposed rule impacts you and your company. The webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session. The webcast costs $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 and Technology, United Fresh

The webinars compliment the work being done by United’s Produce Rule and Preventive Control Rule working groups, comprised of experts and industry leaders, to lead a series of meetings and webinars on the proposed Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Rules. Both working groups held a teleconference last week to begin the deliberative process to review the proposed rules and laid the groundwork for moving forward. The working groups are comprised of United’s volunteer leaders, representing a broad spectrum and expertise of the produce industry to ensure the input of the entire fresh produce supply chain is reflected in the final rules.

“The Produce Safety and Preventive Controls working groups are critical to driving this review forward,” said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology. “The United members leading this effort have already made important recommendations about the proposed rules. Comments generated by the working groups and the broader membership at our meetings will be compiled and approved by United’s Board of Directors before being submitted to FDA.”

More information about the webinars is available on the United Fresh FSMA page at: unitedfresh.org/fsma. 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, as well as federal register notices. Registration for both webinars is available through the United Fresh Calendar of Events. For more information, please contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.


Farm Bill Reintroduced in Senate – United Urges Quick Passage

On January 22, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reintroduced the Farm Bill the Senate had passed last year but that had failed to gain approval in the House of Representatives.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) indicated that it is a “top priority bill.” The 2008 Farm Bill was extended to September 30, 2013 in a fiscal cliff compromise.

“United Fresh appreciates the continued effort towards a full reauthorization of the Farm Bill, and will continue to work closely with fruit and vegetable industry champions on Capitol Hill to make sure that the dedication to industry programs funded in the 2008 Farm Bill continues,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “We urge leaders in both the House and the Senate to work quickly towards passage of the Farm Bill.”

United has been engaged with new and returning Members of the 113th Congress to ensure that specialty crops remain a priority. The updated Fruit & Vegetable State Profiles have been a key tool in communicating the value of specialty crops to each member’s state and district as well as the agriculture and overall US economy.

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


Senator Harkin Introduces Legislation to Expand Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The FFVP brings fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to more than 3 million school children.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation this week that would expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to all low-income elementary schools as part of a comprehensive bill that would expand prevention efforts in schools, communities, and workplaces. Senator Harkin’s Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (HeLP America Act) outlines critical public health and prevention initiatives to encourage healthier school environments and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income schools. Senator Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is affectionately known as the “father” of the FFVP, which he created as a pilot in the 2002 Farm Bill. 

“We are thrilled that Senator Harkin wants to expand the FFVP to all low-income elementary schools,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health. “Students who have increased access to fresh fruit and vegetable snacks provided by the FFVP increase their overall fruit and vegetable consumption, this is critically important for public health, preventing childhood obesity and fighting chronic diseases. The FFVP is a key prevention strategy for schools and all elementary students would benefit from having the FFVP in their schools.”

USDA is expected to publish a comprehensive FFVP evaluation report this spring. For more than 10 years, United Fresh has been the lead advocate for the FFVP on Capitol Hill and will continue that leadership role as Congress begins discussion of the 2013 Farm Bill.

For more information on the FFVP please contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.


Your Networking Takes Off from the Flight Deck of the USS Midway

Catch up with your industry friends as your networking takes flight aboard the USS Midway!

Climb aboard the historic USS Midway at United's 2013 Opening Party, Tuesday, May 14. Experience an unforgettable adventure as you explore one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. Stroll the flight deck with a spectacular view of San Diego’s harbor and explore aircraft spanning 50 years of military service, including:

  • SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber and TBM Avenger
  • Korean War Aircraft F9F-8P Cougar and AD Skyraider
  • Vietnam Aircraft F-4 Phantom and Huey Gunship
  • Desert Storm Aircraft A-6 Intruder and F/A-18 Horne

It’s the perfect way to relax with friends and catch up with business contacts, take on the relaxed environment of San Diego, and kick off United Fresh 2013!

Register for the All Access Pass today! The package includes access to all of the United Fresh education sessions and networking events, as well as the post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference. Early registration rates are available through April 1.

Get the latest updates from United Fresh on expert speakers, networking events, and more, as the countdown to United Fresh 2013 continues - follow us on Twitter with the hash tag #UnitedFresh2013!


Local Oysters and Succulent Seafood Offer a Taste of 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 William Schuler, Castellini Company LLC, this week’s winner of our Taste of San Diego give away. Mr. Schuler will receive a gift certificate to dine at 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. Don’t miss out on the chef’s twist on seasonal items like Monkfish Osso Buco and Wood Roasted Striped Bass. Meat connoisseurs will go crazy for the Berkshire Pork Chops.

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!

Register now for your chance at next week’s featured restaurant, Gabardine. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy amazing food, Gabardine is the place. At Chef Brian Malarkey’s Point Loma restaurant, you’ll experience a cheerful interior and playful food in a “neighborhood kitchen” with all the right touches. Gabardine serves up seafood, small plates, and classics to locals and visitors alike. If you’re craving a taste of the sea, start with something from the oyster bar, which features local items like Baja Oysters and more unique choices like Malpeque Oysters from British Columbia.

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

Join United Fresh at Fruit Logistica for the annual Global Reception, which always attracts 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.


Rising Leaders Sought for 19th Annual Produce Industry Leadership Program

Leadership Class 18 visits Brandt farms in California on a trip 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.

FDA Facilities Registration Grace Period Ends January 31

Are you required to register your facility with the FDA? The deadline is quickly approaching!

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA requires food facilities to renew their registration every two years. The deadline for registration renewals with FDA has passed, but FDA has allowed for a one-month discretionary period, so that registrations submitted up until January 31 will be honored.

“United Fresh members should submit their food facility registrations as soon as possible,” said Dr. David Gombas, United senior vice president of food safety & technology. “While registrations can be submitted up until January 31, waiting until the last minute is risky.”

For additional information and questions about the FDA’s Food Facility Registration Process, industry members are invited to purchase a copy of the "FDA Food Facility Registration: What You Need to Know" Webinar Recording. In the webinar, Amy Barringer, Director, Division of Field Programs and Guidance, FDA Office of Compliance, explains who needs to register, how to register or renew your registration, and upcoming deadlines.

Registration or renewal of food facilities may be completed online by clicking here. United Fresh members with additional questions should contact Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3400.

Be Counted in the Census of Agriculture
Welcome New Members!

The fresh produce industry has the opportunity to be counted by completing the Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. The data is used to inform agriculture policies and secure funding for industry services, which makes fresh produce industry participation in the Census vitally important. 

“United members should take advantage of the opportunity to be counted and represent the fresh produce industry,” said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of issues management & communication. “The Census is an important source of data used by federal, state and local governments, and other entities, and a strong showing can create benefits for the industry.”

The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics. In 2007, U.S. farmers reported over two million farms, spanning across more than 922 million acres. This showed nearly a four percent increase in the number of U.S. farms from the previous Census in 2002. These new farms tended to have more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger operators who also worked off-farm.

Census responses are due by February 4th. Producers may complete their forms online. For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

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

  • Arcobasso Foods, Inc., Hazelwood, MO
  • California Grocers Association, Sacramento, CA
  • Gray Dog Partners, Inc., Del Mar, CA
  • Fyffes, Inc., Coral Gables, FL
  • LaCosta Engergy Efficiency Doors, Carlsbad, CA
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, DC
  • Polehn Farms, Inc., The Dalles, OR
  • Royal Flavor, LLC, San Diego, CA
  • Stellar Distributing, Madera, 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 831-600-8922 or Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

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