August 22, 2013
In Today's Issue:
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden to Host Lunch for Volunteer Leaders at WPPC

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will host a luncheon for volunteer leaders at the 2013 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference on Monday, September 30. Deputy Secretary Harden is a champion of rural communities and worked to support rural community development across America in her previous position as the Chief of Staff at the USDA. "Coming from a southwest Georgia farm and a close-knit rural community, I know that rural America is the backbone of our country and the heart of our values," said Harden. "We have an important opportunity today to expand opportunities across rural America – supporting a diverse and abundant agricultural sector, expanding markets at home and abroad, further strengthening conservation and creating a thriving bio-based economy."

Deputy Secretary Harden has been instrumental in shaping public policy. Harden was actively involved in implementing the 2008 Farm Bill, which increased investment in small towns and supported conservation efforts and agricultural trade. She also worked to pass and implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which resulted in healthier school meals for children across America.

United Fresh Impact Tour Rolls On in Midwest

United Fresh Chairman-Elect Ron Carkoski, CEO of Four Seasons Produce, Ephrata, PA, joined the Fresh Impact tour last week kicking off a Monday Town Hall at Roundy's Supermarkets in Milwaukee, WI. Vice President of Produce Merchandising and Procurement Steve Jarzombek hosted the group, and gave an update on produce trends at Roundy's. The United team of CEO Tom Stenzel and Vice President John Toner then joined Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Duane Maatz for a Town Hall lunch in Stevens Point, WI. With many member visits along the 500-mile drive, the team wrapped up the week in Minnesota with a Town Hall in the Twin Cities hosted by Jim Lemke and the team at C.H. Robinson Worldwide.
After a short weekend break, United brought many of our members and friends together this week in Chicago, kicking off the United Fresh 2014 promotional campaign at a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field (see next story for more details.)  Next week, the United Fresh Impact Tour does triple duty, with staff members Ray Gilmer and Dan Vache visiting members in Colorado, Dr. Dave Gombas and Miriam Wolk hosting Town Halls in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and Tom Stenzel heading to Idaho to speak to the Idaho Grower Shippers Association annual convention.


United Fresh Board Member Lorri Koster Talks Policy Priorities with Senator Marco Rubio

United Fresh Board Member Lorri Koster, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Mann Packing Company spoke with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) about the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Koster met Senator Rubio during an industry breakfast in Salinas, California. Koster will be attending the Washington Public Policy Conference in September and promised to follow up with Senator Rubio during the event. Visit the United Fresh Facebook page to see Koster and Senator Rubio.

Hotel Discounts for WPPC End on August 28

The deadline to reserve your hotel for the 2013 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference is rapidly approaching on August 28. The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill will host the conference this year. If you reserve a room by the deadline, you can receive the discounted group rate of $289 for conference attendees. There are a limited number of rooms still available so, make sure you reserve your room today. Learn more about reserving rooms at the Hyatt Regency.

The Washington Public Policy Conference provides an opportunity for produce industry leaders across the country to meet face-to-face with key members of Congress, their staff and top regulatory officials. This year's conference includes a forum at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to learn more about how the proposed rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will impact the produce industry. Visit the Washington Public Policy Conference webpage for more information.


United Fresh 2014 Campaign Kicks Off with Home Run at Wrigley Field

With the Chicago Cubs taking on the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field, produce marketers and retail guests helped United kick off the marketing campaign for the United Fresh 2014 annual convention and expo, to be held June 10-13, in Chicago. United will once again co-locate its Fresh Marketplace and FreshTech shows together with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), creating a super-sized event with some 20,000 attendees at the McCormick Place Convention Center. "It was great to host this special event during the Midwest Produce Show to highlight that Chicago will be THE industry destination next summer," said United Vice President John Toner. "Whether companies are targeting the Midwest or the entire North American market, United Fresh 2014 together with FMI Retail Connect will be a home run for our exhibitors and sponsors."  For information about exhibiting, please contact John Toner at 202-303-3424. Attendees can look for more information about the event when registration opens next month.


Don't Miss the FDA FSMA Webinar on September 4

On Wednesday, September 4, United Fresh will hold a FREE one-hour webinar briefing and Q&A session with FDA's Charlotte Christin and Brian Pendleton, both senior policy advisors to FDA's Commissioner, on the proposed rules for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs and the Accreditation of Third Party Auditors/Certification Bodies.
United's Dr. David Gombas, Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology believes the proposed rules will have a substantial impact on many in the produce industry. "If your company is or works with a foreign supplier, or handles any imported produce, you will want to know what FDA is proposing in these rules," said Gombas.
Register today for the next FSMA webinar!

This webinar is part of United's annual public policy webinar series. The final webinar will be on September 10 to help prepare you for your March on Capitol Hill during the Washington Public Policy Conference. For more information on the Summer Webinar Series, click here or contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.


PTI Administering Associations Submit Comments to FDA in Support of FSMA

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) administering associations submitted their comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that support traceability recommendations by the Institute of Food Technologists. These recommendations endorse the Food Safety Modernization Act and reference PTI's work to develop best practices for case-level electronic traceability. Wal-Mart Stores Senior Director of Produce Mike Agostini is thrilled to have the opportunity to provide feedback to the FDA through his role as co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. "The produce industry has been looking forward to these traceability recommendations to make sure that we move confidently with the traceability best practices that we have collectively developed in the PTI," said Agostini.
PTI's comments in support of the traceability recommendations underscore the associations' commitment to continuing to work with the FDA to facilitate market-based solutions to enhance overall tracking efficiency and speed within the produce industry.
For more information about the Produce Traceability Initiative contact Dan Vache at 425-629-6271.


Nominate a Company Today for the Advocate of the Year Award

The deadline for United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year award is today, August 22. The award recognizes an outstanding United Fresh member company or association who has been a leader in advocating for the produce industry. This year's winner will be recognized at the 2013 Washington Public Policy Conference. For more information on the United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award and a list of past award recipients, click here or contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

Submit a nomination online for the 2013 Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award.


United's David Gombas to Educate EU Industry Leaders on Fresh-Cut Produce Processing

Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology, will travel to Turkey in October to teach European leaders in the produce industry about processing fresh-cut produce. Dr. Gombas will be an instructor for the 6th European Short-Course on Fresh-Cut Produce Processing: Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits. The growing popularity of fresh-cut produce is generating increasing interest for growers, processors, retailers and consumers in Europe and all over the world. The goal of the course is to provide an overview of many issues involved in production, processing, packaging, distribution, and quality assurance of fresh-cut products. The course is organized by the Department of Horticulture at the University of Akdeniz in Turkey.


The Recall Ready Workshop Gives You the Tools to Work with the FDA During a Recall

Space is limited for the Recall Ready Training Workshop in Monterey, California on September 18-19, so sign up today. The Recall Ready Training Workshop is a two-day training that covers the basics of what every operation needs to know about managing a recall. During the workshop you will learn about your rights and responsibilities when there is a recall. You will also learn how best to work with the FDA through the recall process. Another key part of the workshop is communicating effectively with consumers and news media. A Recall Ready Training Workshop will also be held in November in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Recall Ready Training Workshop go to the Ready Recall Program web page. If you have any questions, contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3433.

Register for the Recall Ready Training Workshop


Produce Industry Coalition Proposals Provide a Blueprint for Establishing a Stable Workforce

The next few days are a critical opportunity to show your support for immigration reform in the House of Representatives. United Fresh is a founding member of the Agricultural Workforce Coalition, which has developed proposals that will establish a stable and viable workforce that is so critical for the fruit and vegetable industry in the U.S. These proposals provide a plan to provide access to a legal workforce in the future and adjust the status of experienced but unauthorized agricultural workers living in the U.S.
Congress needs to know that you support immigration reform legislation and the Agricultural Workforce Coalition proposals. Here are some ways to step up and take action. You can register and attend the Washington Public Policy Conference from September 30 – October 3. This conference allows you to meet face-to-face with lawmakers and staff at key congressional offices. Register for WPPC today.
You can also send Congress an email from the Grassroots Action Network. It only takes a few minutes to send an email to your elected official that lets them know how important passing immigration reform legislation is to you. Send an email to your U.S. House Representative today!


USDA Requesting Comments on Three Proposed Onion Grade Standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on modifying the three standards to allow for an assortment of onion colors in mixed or specialty pack varieties.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is requesting comments on proposed revisions to three standards:  U.S. Standards for Grades of Creole Onions, U.S. Standards for Grades of Bermuda-Granex-Grano Type Onions, and U.S. Standards for Grades of Onions (Other Than Bermuda-Granex-Grano and Creole Type).
AMS works with industry representatives and others to establish or revise U.S. standards for nearly 240 agricultural products. Industry uses the standards in the marketplace to specify the quality of commodities. Standards facilitate commerce by providing a common language for trade and a means of measuring value in the marketing of agricultural products.
The rule for Bermuda-Granex-Grano Type Onions and Onions (Other Than Bermuda-Granex-Grano and Creole Type) will be published in the August 22, 2013, Federal Register. The notice for U.S. Standards for Grades of Creole Onions will also be published in the August 22, 2013, Federal Register. Comments may be submitted to by October 21, 2013. For a copy of the current standards or more information, visit If you have questions, contact Dave Horner at 540-361-1128.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Denver Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
Aug 26, FreshPoint Denver, Denver, CO

Pennsylvania Produce Industry Town Hall Breakfast
Aug 27, Four Seasons Family of Companies, Ephrata, PA

Mushroom Produce Industry Town Hall Reception
Aug 27, American Mushroom Institute, Avondale, PA

Rocky Ford Produce Industry Town Hall Breakfast
Aug 28, L & M Companies, Rocky Ford, CO

Philadelphia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
Aug 28, Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Philadelphia, PA

South Jersey Produce Industry Reception
Aug 29, Merighi's Savoy Inn, East Vineland, NJ

North Jersey Town Hall Luncheon
Aug 30, RLB Food Distributors/FreshPro, West Caldwell, NJ

Monte Vista Produce Industry Town Hall Meeting
Aug 30, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Monte Vista, CO

FDA FSMA Webinar: Proposed Rules on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs and the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies
Sept 4, Webinar

Summer Public Policy Webinar Series:  What Congress Needs to Know About Your Business
Sept 10, Webinar

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

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

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

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