July 25, 2013
In Today's Issue:
SNAP Incentives Increase Fresh Produce Purchases

United Fresh applauds Secretary Vilsack’s announcement today that USDA’s Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) project increased produce consumption among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. The pilot, conducted in Hampden, MA, demonstrated that providing financial incentives to SNAP recipients at the point of sale increases the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Under HIP, SNAP participants received an incentive of 30 cents for every SNAP dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables credited back to their SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer card.

“We’re very encouraged by these results, especially in light of other successful fruit and vegetable incentive programs such as Double Up Bucks in Michigan, Wholesome Wave, and others,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health. “All of these programs are showing that incentives to low-income families work to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.”

The HIP was authorized and funded by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill passed by the Senate in June 2013 includes $100 million in federal matching funds to support fruit and vegetable incentives for SNAP recipients.

“We are hopeful that this funding will be included in the final version of the 2013 Farm Bill and support the expansion of these incentives to thousands of low-income families,” said DiSogra.

The news was followed by the release of a report by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) that found fresh fruits and vegetables can be nutritional bargains, that they are comparable in price to, or less expensive than, unhealthy snacks and side dishes and contain fewer calories. The report can be accessed here.

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

Immigration Reform Could Be Decided in August

August will be a critical time for the produce industry to speak up in support of immigration reform, according to the expert panel of speakers on the July 23 webinar, “My Business Needs a Stable and Legal Workforce NOW.”

Brian Worth, Coalitions Director, Office of the Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives, explained the strategy in advancing the legislation. The House has taken a piecemeal approach in putting forward a series of smaller immigration reform bills to build momentum. He stressed the need for constituents to create a sense of urgency in their lawmakers, to make it clear that reform is a priority.

Charles Wingard, Director of Field Operations for Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc., and member of United’s Government Relations Council, urged the industry to take advantage of lawmakers being in their home offices during the August recess by visiting and calling in support of immigration reform.  He stressed the importance of attending the Washington Public Policy Conference to strengthen the industry’s unified voice on the issue, and reminded members that the outcome of the immigration reform battle will impact the entire industry.

The webinar was the first in United’s annual public policy webinar series, which continues through the summer with insightful perspectives from industry experts and United Staff on the top policy and regulatory initiatives affecting your business, including food safety, health care, and more. Each webinar will close with a discussion period, where you can ask questions directly to the speakers.

Don’t miss these upcoming, informative sessions:

How the Implementation of FSMA Will Affect Your Business: 
How to be Prepared for the FDA's Food Safety Overhaul
Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 2:00 pm Eastern / 11:00 am Pacific
Register here

What Congress Needs to Know About Your Business: 
Preparing for Your March on Washington

Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 2:00 pm Eastern / 11:00 am Pacific
Register here.

Participants can log-in live to hear from industry and government experts and ask questions that address their specific business priorities. Each of the webinars will last one hour - participate in the entire series or just the ones of interest to you. All of the sessions will be recorded and made available online shortly after each session. All webinars are complementary for both United Fresh Members and non-members.
For more information, please contact Erin Grether, Government Relations Coordinator, at 202-303-3402.


Leadership Class 19 Begins Year-Long Journey with Trip to Midwest and Canada

Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, introduces Randy Whiting, Loblaw produce specialist, to Leadership Class 19 at Zehrs retail store located in Kingsville, Ontario.

Ken Holthouse, Class 13 Leadership Alumnus, gives the new leadership class a tour of Doug Walcher Farms located in Willard, Ohio.

The twelve members of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 19 initiated their year-long journey with visits to United Fresh member companies throughout the Midwest and Canada last week.

The program, which is focused on developing future industry leaders, kicked off in northern Ohio and brought the fellows across the state, traveling up through Michigan and finally wrapping up in Ontario, Canada. The weeklong trip included a blend of professional development and business training along with meetings and networking with a myriad of produce industry leaders. By touring a range of produce operations, the fellows were able to gain a better understanding of how other businesses operate and the challenges affecting different segments of the industry.

United extends a warm thank you to the many industry members and organizations who opened their facilities and shared their knowledge and hospitality with the leadership class, including: Buurma Farms, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Fair Food Network, GreenLine Foods, Greenhouse & Processing Crops Research Centre (Agri-Food Canada), Holthouse Farms, Honey Bee Market, Mastronardi Produce, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Wiers Farm/Dutch Maid Logistics, Whole Foods Market, and Zehrs. Special thanks to DuPont Crop Protection, the sole sponsor of the leadership program since its inception in 1995.

The class will convene next in Washington, DC for the Washington Public Policy Conference, October 1-3, 2013.

For more information about the leadership program click here or contact Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3405.

Farm Bill Future Waiting on Conference

The produce industry is anticipating movement on the Farm Bill, though it is unclear when it may go to conference. Last week the House sent its farm-program-only farm bill to the Senate, which then substituted its bill and sent it back to the House on Thursday. That action was necessary because the Senate-passed bill contains financial measures that cannot be considered in the House unless the bill has a House number attached to it. Under the Constitution, all finance measures must originate in the House.

 “The Senate already gave an indication that they are ready to move forward to conference, but it isn’t as clear as to what the House will do, given that their version is an agriculture-only bill, without the nutrition programs,” explained Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “We look forward to working with conference negotiators to advance this legislation and ensure that specialty crop priorities are preserved.”

For more information, please contact Robert Guenther at 202-303-3400.


United Fresh Adds Events to Summer Fresh Impact Tour

United Fresh is excited to announce additional events have been added to the fourth Fresh Impact Tour, set to begin July 29. The series of more than 20 town halls in 15 states will reach from coast-to-coast and will give industry members chance to share their perspectives on the issues and make business connections.

Registration is now available for these recently confirmed events:

The Fresh Impact Tour will begin in the Northeast, with town hall events in New York, Massachusetts, and Maine. Other town halls will be held in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Throughout the tours, United leaders and staff will meet with industry members at their operations, and Stenzel will also speak to the Texas Produce Convention and the Idaho Grower Shipper Association.

 “We’re going to cover a lot of ground talking with industry members this summer – in both miles and the diverse topics we’ll be addressing,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “United Fresh Impact Tours always allow us to engage in personal discussions about challenges facing our members, from labor and immigration, to food safety, to ways to increase produce consumption. At each stop along the way, we’ll spotlight how United can help leverage the passion of individual members to make a difference for the greater industry.”

Throughout the trip, members and staff will be posting updates and photos to the United Fresh Twitter and Facebook pages. Follow along online or attend a Town Hall to join in on the 2013 California Fresh Impact Tour!

To register for an event or find more information on the upcoming Fresh Impact Tour, please visit the United Fresh website or contact Miriam Wolk, vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.


Deadline Is July 31: Apply Today for Caplan Family Business Scholarship

The deadline to apply to the 2013 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program is fast approaching! The program awards up to four scholarships for employees of family-owned businesses to attend United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference in October.

“The Caplan Family Business Scholarship afforded me such a unique opportunity to connect with our nation’s lawmakers and gain a deeper understanding of the policy-making process, and how those policies impact my family business,” said 2012 scholarship recipient TJ Rahll, Edward G. Rahll & Sons, Inc. “Walking the halls of Congress was an incredible experience and one that highlighted how important it is to be engaged so that our industry’s voice is heard in DC.” 

Scholarship recipients will receive complimentary airfare, hotel and registration to attend the WPPC, September 30 – October 2 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Washington Public Policy Conference brings together hundreds of produce leaders from all sectors of the industry to interact personally and share ideas with administration officials, congressional leaders and industry colleagues.

The Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program was established in 2001 through a generous grant from Frieda's, Inc. to the United Fresh Foundation by Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins in honor of their mother, Frieda Rapoport Caplan. The program is designed to increase family business' involvement in government relations and produce industry advocacy.

To apply for a 2013 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship, participants must complete an application form and written submission outlining why they want to attend the WPPC and what they hope to gain from the experience. Applicants must be employed by a family-owned business that is a United Fresh member company in good standing; the program is open to first-time attendees of the Washington Public Policy Conference.  The application can be downloaded here and must be received by July 31.

For more information about the scholarship program, contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405, and for more information about the Washington Public Policy Conference, or to register, contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


Summer Editions of Market Segment Newsletters Connect United Members

Want the inside scoop on the latest personalities and business trends driving your market segment? The third edition of the United Fresh Market Segment Newsletters are now available, with interviews, policy updates, and event previews geared specifically to grower-shipper, wholesaler-distributor, fresh-cut processor, and retail-foodservice communities.

“These quarterly publications are a great way for each segment to stay connected and share information about our common challenges,” said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of issues management & communication. “It’s a way to share success stories and see what your colleagues in the industry are up to. The summer issues also include a preview of the Washington Public Policy Conference, coming up this fall.”

The latest issue of the Grower-Shipper, Wholesaler-Distributor, Fresh-Cut Processor, and Retail-Foodservice Market Segment Newsletters can be found here. For more information, please contact Ray Gilmer at 202-303-3400.
FDA’s Team Tomato Takes a Stand Against Contamination

FDA’s Team Tomato is on the case to ensure that research is working to keep the crop free of Salmonella contamination. New research by the team has focused on interventions that would prevent contamination from occurring in tomato production, focusing on water and soil conditions that are common in the field.

The tomato industry has worked closely with FDA to set safety standards to prevent contamination – industry-wide safety guidelines were adopted in 2008. And in 2009, the industry issued food safety and auditing standards, commonly called the Tomato Metrics, for growers, greenhouse operators, and packers. United’s Tomato Metrics resources are available here.

In the FDA’s recent Consumer Update, United’s Dr. David Gombas affirms that the tomato industry continues to have a close working relationship with FDA. "We're all working together on this," he said. There are frequent meetings and conversations about the latest research, and the industry allows FDA access to farms and crops to research.

The Consumer Update also outlines new research and their practical applications. For example, FDA’s Team Tomato has found a natural enemy of Salmonella —a bacterium called Paenibacillus, which is benign to humans but kills Salmonella. FDA will be working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of an organic treatment containing Paenibacillus that would kill Salmonella and other harmful organisms.

Read more about FDA’s Team Tomato here!


New CDC Poster Gives Consumers Food Safety Tips

A new CDC poster, “Steps to Safe and Healthy Fruits and Vegetables,” is now available for free download here. The poster includes helpful hints to reduce the incidence of food borne illness from fresh produce, beginning with selecting produce in the grocery store through proper preparation and storage at home.

“The safety of fresh fruits and vegetables is the responsibility of everyone in the supply chain, from growers to consumers,” said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology. “We’re thrilled to see this communication from CDC empowering consumers to handle fresh produce safely from the store to the table, and hope the poster gets wide distribution.”   

A Spanish version of the poster will be available soon. The posters can be downloaded here.


New Member Welcome
day planner

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

  • Henkel & Cohen, P.A., Miami, FL

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 Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Summer Public Policy Webinar Series: How the Implementation of FSMA Will Affect Your Business
Aug 13, Webinar

Summer Public Policy Webinar Series:  What Congress Needs to Know About Your Business
Sept 4, Webinar

Produce Inspection Training Program
Sept 16-20, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

Recall Ready Training Workshop
Sept 18-19, Embassy Suites Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

Washington Public Policy Conference
Sept 30 – Oct 2, Washington, DC

Recall Ready Training Workshop
Nov 6-7, Hilton Hotel, Philadelphia, PA