February 07, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Morning Joe Duo to Speak at United Fresh 2013

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, will deliver their signature off-the-cuff commentary at the Thursday General Session of United Fresh 2013. United Fresh proudly welcomes the popular morning show duo for a candid conversation on the current political landscape and how it affects the produce industry.

Morning Joe has become a “must-watch” news source since it was launched in 2007. The show features top-name guests from all parts of the political, media, and cultural spectrums. An enlightening and entertaining duo – Brzezinski is the Democrat to Scarborough’s Republican.

Prior to joining MSNBC, Scarborough was the Republican representative in Congress for Florida’s 1st District from 1994-2001. While in office, he served on numerous committees, including the Judiciary, Armed Services, Government Reform and Oversight, Education and the Workforce, and National Security.

“Joe Scarborough is an unabashed conservative pundit who never shies away from telling it as it is or giving advice to Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO. “He has established himself as one of our country’s leading political thought-leaders and has deep respect from both sides of the aisle. I’m confident that he and Mika will give our convention attendees in San Diego a refreshing break from relentless political polarization.”

Brzezinski’s long-standing journalism career began in 1990 with ABC before joining CBS in 1997 where she became the principal “Ground Zero” CBS reporter for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Prior to joining MSNBC in January 2007, Brzezinski was an anchor of the CBS Evening News Weekend Edition and a CBS News correspondent.

“Like no other program, Morning Joe goes beyond the headlines and sound bites to understand the players, the political strategies and trends that shape our nation,” said Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management & communications for United Fresh. “The program’s guest list is the best in television: Joe and Mika’s interactions with such a wide range of opinions gives them a valuable perspective that they are sure to share at United Fresh 2013.”

United Fresh 2013 will be held in San Diego, May 14-16. The annual convention and exposition will serve all segments of the produce industry with opportunities for education, innovation and sales growth. This year’s opening keynote address features visionary retail leader and Whole Foods Market Co-CEO Walter Robb, who will share what produce consumers at Whole Foods value most, and how the produce industry and retailers can work together to meet and exceed those expectations. Networking takes flight at the Opening Reception aboard the USS Midway, and the post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference brings together produce marketers to learn more about today’s sophisticated, connected and changing consumer.

Early registration package rates are available through April 1. The All Access Pass to United Fresh 2013 includes access to all of the United Fresh education sessions and networking events, as well as the post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference. The convention will be held at the San Diego Convention Center. Special hotel rates are available online for the headquarters hotels, the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina and the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

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 or share your photos on Facebook.


United to Hold Meetings in Parallel with Announced FDA FSMA Meetings

The FDA has announced two additional public meetings on the recently released proposed Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Rules. The meetings will be held in Chicago March 11-12 and Portland March 27-28, following the already scheduled public meeting February 28 – March 1, 2013, in Washington, DC.

United Fresh will hold a series of rule review working group meetings in conjunction with the FDA public meetings where members of the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Working Groups will draft comments and the broader industry can give feedback. The United meetings will be held February 27 in Washington, DC, March 13 in Chicago, and March 26 in Portland.

“United’s extensive FSMA rules review process involves members from all segments of the industry, and these meetings will be critical to ensuring that the comments we submit are reflective of that,” said Dr. David Gombas, United senior vice president of food safety and technology. “I encourage all members to review the resources that we have made available and attend a meeting to give us feedback.”

United’s two working groups, one for each rule, have already begun a deliberative process to review the proposals. The working groups are comprised of United’s volunteer leaders, representing a broad spectrum and expertise of the produce industry. The working groups bring together members of the Food Safety & Technology Council, Government Relations Council, and other volunteer leadership groups. Comments generated by the working groups and the broader membership will be compiled and approved by United’s Board of Directors before being submitted to FDA.

For more information about the proposed Produce and Preventive Controls Rules, please visit United’s FSMA Resources page at: unitedfresh.org/fsma or contact Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology, at 202-303-3400.


FDA to Participate in United Fresh Preventive Controls Webinar

United Fresh continues the review of the proposed rules under Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with a webinar dedicated to the Preventive Controls Rule. On Friday, February 15, 2pm – 3:30pm ET, join us for “FDA’s Proposed FSMA Preventive Controls Webinar: Learn from FDA and Industry Experts,” an in-depth look at the proposed rule, including how the requirements, exemptions and implementation will affect the fresh produce industry. Featured speakers include:

  • Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN
  • Samir Assar Ph.D., Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSAN
  • Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, United Fresh
  • David Durkin, Legal Counsel, OFW Law

The proposed rule would apply to many domestic and foreign firms that manufacture, process, pack or hold human food. These firms would be required to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards, identify monitoring procedures and record monitoring results and specify what actions will be taken to correct problems that arise. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. The webinar is free for United members and $50 for non-members. Registration is available here.

Produce Safety Standards: FDA and Industry Expert Insights Webinar
United Fresh has also partnered with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to offer a webinar on the proposed Produce Safety Rule. The session, “Produce Safety Standards: FDA and Industry Expert Insights Webinar,” will be held on Monday, February 11: 12:00-1:30 pm EST with featured speakers Dr. Samir Assar, Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSAN; Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN; and Dr. David Gombas, Senior Vice President, Food Safety and Technology, United Fresh. The webcast costs $49 and registration can be completed online.

FDA's Proposed FSMA Produce Rule Webinar: Learn from the Experts
This morning, United Fresh was joined by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) on a webinar that also covered the proposed Produce Rule. Dr. James Gorny, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN, and David Durkin, Legal Counsel, OFW Law, made presentations about the potential implications of the proposed rule, while 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, moderated the session. A full recording of the webinar is available here.

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. For more information about the proposed Produce and Preventive Controls Rules, please contact Dr. David Gombas, United’s senior vice president of food safety and technology, at 202-303-3400.


United Fresh, FDA Brief State Department of Agriculture Leaders on FSMA Proposed Rules

At the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther joined FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food, Mike Taylor and Association Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs for FDA, Melinda Plaisier, to brief state agriculture leaders from across the country on the new produce food safety proposed rules under FSMA. Dr. Glenn Black, from the Grocery Manufacturers of America also presented on the food facility proposed rule.

Guenther’s remarks focused on the highlights of the proposed Produce Safety Rule and he discussed initial observations and reactions as the industry review of the proposed rule continues. “These state officials are critical stakeholders in food safety and in a lot of cases will be key leaders on education and training efforts proposed under these rules,” said Guenther. “We look forward to working with them on coordination of comments and dialogue regarding the proposed rules.”

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


Kids, Fresh Produce Score Victory in New USDA Rule

New proposal ensures healthy snacks in vending machines and snack bars in schools.

United Fresh applauds USDA's "Smart Snacks in Schools" proposed rule which establishes nutrition standards for all of the foods and beverages sold in schools. The proposed rule emphasizes promoting the availability of healthy snack foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and protein. This rule supports and complements the new school meal standards, helps create healthier school food environments, and makes the healthy choice the easy choice for our nation's school children.

"Increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks in schools will go a long way towards creating a healthy school food environment and improving nutrition for millions of school children," said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United’s vice president of nutrition & health. "In addition, this will drive opportunities for increased produce sales to schools.”

The "Smart Snacks in Schools" proposed rule complements and supports the recent improvements to school meals and underscores United's commitment to improving child nutrition. The landmark new school lunch regulations, which were implemented at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables served every day and emphasized providing a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables each week.

United Fresh will review the proposed rule in its entirety and work with our members, nutrition advocates and other stakeholders, to submit comments within 60 days to USDA on how to strengthen the proposed rule.

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

New Milestone: 1 Million Kids Benefit From Salad Bars Every Day

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has hit a major milestone: more than one million school children are benefiting every day from salad bars donated through the national Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign. All of these children now have greater access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, helping them create a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating. To date, 2,164 schools across the country have received salad bars.

“January 2013 was a momentous month - 630 schools nationwide received salad bars thanks to generous donations from an anonymous $1million donor in Colorado, Whole Kids Foundation, The Safeway Foundation, Bayer CropScience and the Fresh Produce and Floral Council,” said Dr Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health. “On behalf of United Fresh and all LMSB2S partners, I also thank the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) who announced their $100,000 donation to support LMSB2S in late January. PMA’s donation will benefit an additional 38 schools nationwide. All of these contributions enable LMSB2S to make a significant impact on improving child nutrition, and United is proud to be a founding partner in that effort.”

United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign also benefited from the January contributions. Of the 630 schools that received salad bars nationwide in January, 130 of these schools were in California. “We now have 258 salad bars funded towards our goal of 350 for California schools by May 15. We can see the finish line and encourage produce industry leaders everywhere to step up and help us reach the goal,” said Dr. DiSogra.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation. For more information on how you can support LMSB2S please contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy & grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407.


United Meets with Global Produce Industry at Fruit Logistica

The annual Global Reception attracted more than 200 attendees.

The United Fresh stand has been a popular destination at Fruit Logistica in Berlin! United members from all over the world, foreign officials and industry players have visited with staff and volunteer leaders to learn about United's programs and services for the global produce community.  

The United Fresh Global Reception continued an annual tradition of gathering members and industry friends from around the world on Wednesday evening. More than 200 attendees participated in the event, which was generously sponsored by N2N, for lively networking and engagement with global produce industry participants.

"The reception was great place for our members to meet new friends and catch up with industry colleagues,” said John Toner, United Fresh vice president of convention & industry relations. "The trade fair also allows us to meet with attendees to discuss the strong opportunities for their businesses at events like United Fresh 2013, as well as a way for members around the world to dialogue about making produce more convenient and more accessible through all channels of global trade."

United Fresh staff will be available to meet with members in Hall 23, Stand F-12 through the close of the trade fair on Friday evening.

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

Produce Legends Dinner Celebrates Industry Icon Frieda Rapoport Caplan

United Fresh honored Frieda Rapoport Caplan with its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Winter Leadership Meetings on January 28 in Tucson, Arizona. The award recognizes individuals for a lifetime of achievement and for lasting contributions to the fresh produce industry.

Hundreds of produce industry colleagues were on hand to celebrate at the event, which featured décor in Frieda’s signature color purple and a menu based on specialty items Caplan has helped popularize with her pioneering marketing style. Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president & CEO and United Fresh Chairman David Krause, Paramount Citrus, remarked on Caplan’s contributions in their remarks, and long time family friend Jim Prevor, Produce Business, along with her daughters Jackie Caplan Wiggins and Karen Caplan, and granddaughter Alex Jackson recounted personal stories of her influence and encouragement.

“Frieda Caplan truly is the model for a Lifetime Achievement Award in the produce industry,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “From the very start she epitomized the classic produce entrepreneur, always pushing forward as a progressive marketer, savvy business personality, and as a leader in our industry. And while Frieda has been a longtime role-model for women in produce, she stands out as a role-model for anyone in our industry,” he said.

In 1962, Frieda Caplan established Frieda’s Finest/Produce Specialties, Inc. on the male-dominated Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. At that time, Caplan was one of the first women to own and operate a U.S. produce business. She debuted with a purple sign, which later became the company’s signature color, and her premier product was fresh brown mushrooms - an unusual specialty at that time. She quickly developed a reputation for buying and selling new and unusual produce specialties.

Photo and video highlights from the event can be viewed here.

South Texas, Mexican- Inspired Dishes Lend Flair to San Diego

Congratulations to Lisa Fuentes, The Nunes Co.,this week’s winner of our Taste of San Diego give away. Fuentes will receive a gift certificate to dine at On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina! Originally based on sizzling fajitas, frosty margaritas, happy hour and a booming patio, On The Border has evolved and expanded over time to include a variety of craveable dishes inspired by the cuisines of South Texas and Mexico.

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.

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, Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The location boasts one of the city’s best views and offers some of the most spectacular sunsets in San Diego. At Ruth’s Chris Steak House, it’s clear that quality ingredients, attention to detail and that special sizzle is what they’re passionate about. The memory of a great meal will stay with you long after the table's been cleared. Don’t miss their USDA Prime steaks, served sizzling on a 500° plate - every bite is as delicious as the first.

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!


Florida Extends a Warm Welcome to United Leadership Class 18
Welcome New Members!
Class 18 enjoys a tour of O’Brien Family Farms
in Bradenton, FL.

Last week, the twelve members of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 18 completed the third trip of their year-long journey with visits to United Fresh member companies throughout Florida.

The program, designed to develop future industry leaders, began in Belle Glade and led the fellows west across the state to Immokalee, through Bradenton and Duette, and finally concluding in Orlando. The weeklong trip included a combination of meetings and networking with multiple produce industry leaders, along with a chance to give back by packing produce for a local food bank. In addition, the class was able to join Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Emerging Leader Development Class 2 for a special dinner and enjoyed making new contacts while sharing their common leadership experiences. By touring a range of growing, packing, distributing and processing facilities, the fellows were able to gain a better understanding of how other businesses operate and the challenges affecting different segments of the supply chain.

United Fresh extends a warm thank you to the many companies and organizations who opened their doors and shared their knowledge and hospitality with the leadership class, including Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Lipman Produce, O’Brien Family Farms, DiMare Fresh, Wish Farms, FreshPoint Central Florida, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Darden, R.C. Hatton Farms, Roth Farms, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, Redlands Christian Migrant Association, Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.

Special thanks to DuPont Crop Protection, sole sponsor of the program since its inception in 1995. The class will convene once more at the United Fresh 2013 convention in San Diego where they will officially graduate from the program.

Applications are now being accepted for 2013-2014 Leadership Class. For more information about the program and how to apply, click here or contact Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3400.


New Cantaloupe Growers Association Makes Retailer Debut
Welcome New Members!

The newly established Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association (ECGA) will convene a kick-off meeting on Monday, February 11 at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel for all foodservice and retail buyers. Having met in early January with cantaloupe growers and potential members hailing from Indiana down to southern Florida, ECGA solidified mandatory food safety guidelines for the association and the group is now ready to unveil these standards to their produce purchasers.
ECGA requires its members to maintain GFSI benchmarked auditing metrics if they intend to display the ECGA seal.  These metrics include specifications to water, soil amendments, sanitation and equipment cleaning standards that are above those mandated by GFSI benchmarking.  Certified members will also undergo at least one surprise audit during the year to ensure that they are following the standards set by the association.

ECGA Executive Director Charles Hall says the next phase for this group is promotion. “We need retailers and produce buyers to understand the intentional investment in safety that these cantaloupe growers are making,” he said.  “These guys are pledging to go the extra mile not only for their own farms, but for the cantaloupe industry as a whole.”

For more information on the meeting and to register to attend, visit www.ecga-usa.org or contact Charles Hall at 706-845-9085.


Juno Jablon Joins United Fresh as Business Development Coordinator

Juno Jablon joined United Fresh in early January in the newly created business development coordinator position. In her role, Jablon will be a part of the Sales & Marketing Team and support United’s recruitment efforts and broader association sales activities. 

"We are excited to welcome Juno to the United Fresh team,” said Miriam Wolk, United’s vice president of membership & marketing. “Her enthusiasm for the industry and ability to work with companies to help them see the value of engaging United Fresh will be a great asset for us."

Jablon graduated in May 2012 from Florida State University with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Spanish. She has held previous internship positions with The American Heart Association in event planning, fundraising and marketing; Robert Graham Designs in sales and marketing; International House Philadelphia in event planning and marketing; and most recently assisted with legislative research in the office of Senator Chris Coons.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

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

  • C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Company, LLC, Yakima, WA
  • Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, NJ

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:

FDA's Proposed FSMA Produce Rule Webinar
February 7, 11-12:30pm ET, in collaboration with International Association for Food Protection

Produce Safety Standards: FDA and Industry Expert Insights Webinar
February 11, 12-1:30pm ET, in collaboration with Institute of Food Technologists

FDA’s Proposed FSMA Preventive Controls Webinar
February 15, 2-3:3:30pm ET

United Fresh FSMA Rules Review Meeting
February 27, Washington, DC

2013 Produce Executive Development Program
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

United Fresh FSMA Rules Review Meeting
March 13, Chicago, IL

United Fresh FSMA Rules Review Meeting
March 26, Portland, OR

United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA