September 05, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to Address Washington Gridlock at the Washington Public Policy Conference

Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman will deliver remarks at the United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference Opening General Session Breakfast on Tuesday, October 1. Secretary Glickman will discuss how the country can move beyond the current gridlock we find in Washington, and enable key public policy changes that ultimately benefit the produce industry. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask Secretary Glickman questions.

Secretary Glickman is a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and co-chairs its Nutrition and Physical Fitness Initiative.  Glickman said farm policy and nutrition go hand in hand. "We know that food and farm policy play a key role in influencing what we eat, ensuring an adequate supply of nutritious, affordable food," said Glickman.

Secretary Glickman has a long history in public service serving as U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001, and for 18 years in the House of Representatives representing Kansas. Under his leadership in the Department of Agriculture, he administered farm and conservation programs, modernized food-safety regulations and forged international trade agreements to expand U.S. markets.

Join us for the Washington Public Policy Conference to learn strategies to further policies that supports our industry.

WPPC Education Sessions Give You Crucial Information on Public Policies that Affect Your Business' Bottom Line

Public policies made on Capitol Hill have a multibillion dollar impact on America's produce industry. The only way we can ensure that the produce industry remains competitive is by advocating for public policies that support our industry. The Washington Public Policy Conference offers education sessions that provide you with critical information on how public policies will impact your business' bottom line. Hear from the national leading experts about the challenges and opportunities facing the produce industry from public policy related to labor and immigration, food safety and child nutrition. The sessions will provide participants with a strong foundation in current and proposed policies, as well as an understanding of how these policies will affect your day to day business. Three education sessions are offered at the conference on Tuesday, October 1.

The Managing Labor Issues in Your Business session will explore immigration reform, E-Verify and H-2A, and changing healthcare laws.  Featured speakers will include Bill L. Brim, President, Lewis Taylor Farms, Inc.; Brendan Comito, Chief Operations Officer, Capital City Fruit Company, Inc.; Christopher E. Condeluci, Of Counsel, Venable LLP; Sarah Frey-Talley, President, Frey Farms and Loretta Radanovic, Vice President, Finance, Four Seasons Family of Companies.

The session, Addressing Food Safety Challenges Today and Tomorrow will focus on managing recalls, challenges to importers/exporters in today's food safety climate and the FDA proposed rules. Speakers will include Jan Berk, Vice President, San Miguel Produce, Inc.; David Durkin, Principal, OFW Law, Legal Counsel to United Fresh; Stuart Jablon, Vice President, Operations, Dole Fresh Fruit, Inc.;  Bruce McEvoy, Director of Global Affairs, Seald-Sweet LLC/UNIVEG Group; Bob Mills, Member, United Fresh Food Safety and Technology Council; Walter Ram, Vice President of Food Safety, The Giumarra Companies and Lisa Watson, Principal, Watson/Green LLC.

The Growing Kids', Growing New Consumers session will offer a discussion on how school policy changes will provide growth opportunities for the produce industry, how school salad bars create a win-win scenario and the role of retail. Featured speakers will include Marla Caplon, Director of Child Nutrition, Montgomery County School District, Rockville, Maryland; Dionysios Christou, Vice President, Marketing N.A., Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc.; Sean Leer, Vice President of Sales, Gold Star Foods; Phil Muir, President and CEO, Muir Copper Canyon Farms and Jessica Shelly, MBA, REHS, RS, Food Services Director, Cincinnati Public Schools.

Register to attend the Washington Public Policy Conference. To learn more about the education sessions, contact United's Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


Get Prepared for Your March on Capitol Hill by Attending United Fresh Webinar Next Week

On September 10, United Fresh is holding a free webinar, What Congress Needs to Know About Your Business: Preparing for Your March on Capitol Hill during the Washington Public Policy Conference at the end of the month. During this webinar, Washington's top policy experts will share important trends and insights about public policies that impact your business, including food safety and immigration. The webinar will also provide strategies to communicate with Congress effectively about public policies that are important to your business.
To learn more about the webinar on September 10, contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.

Earlier this week, United Fresh presented a FSMA webinar on the proposed rules on foreign supplier verification programs and the accreditation of third-party auditors/certification bodies. The webinar offered a briefing and Q&A session with FDA senior policy advisors, Charlotte Christin and Brian Pendleton, on the proposed rules for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs and the Accreditation of Third Party Auditors/Certification Bodies. Watch the FSMA webinar online.

Michigan Program Aims to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Trish Solis, Deputy Regional Administrator MWRO, USDA; Joani Walsh, Deputy Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh; and Jessica Shahin, Associate Administrator, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), USDA at Detroit's Eastern Market

On Tuesday, September 3, United Fresh's Vice President for Nutrition, Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, joined USDA officials on a visit to Michigan's Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), an initiative which aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income families throughout the state. DUFB provides low-income consumers an opportunity to purchase more fresh produce by matching up to $20 in SNAP (food stamps) funds to double the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables low income consumers can purchase on any day. DUFB was started in 2009 in five Detroit Farmers' Markets and has expanded over the last 4 years to 100 Michigan farmers' markets. This summer 3 independent Detroit supermarkets, Honey Bee Market, Metro Foodland and Mike's Fresh Market, are pilot testing DUFB. In these three supermarkets low income shoppers receive a $10 DUFB gift card for every $10 they spend on fresh fruits and vegetables, thereby doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables they can purchase.  

"DUFB is considered a model for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income families and for understanding how financial incentives can promote healthier food choices among SNAP customers," said Dr. DiSogra. "I was honored to be invited by Fair Food Network to visit two of the participating supermarkets, Detroit's famous Eastern Market and to meet some of the foundations that are funding this innovative work. There's interest all over the country in expanding financial incentive programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and seeing DUFB first hard was very valuable," added Dr. DiSogra.  The Farm Bill passed by the Senate in June includes funding to expand programs similar to DUFB.     

For more information about Double Up Food Bucks, contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3403


Audit Costs a Top Issue for Growers at Colorado Town Hall

United Fresh members and others from the produce industry met last Friday in Center, CO, to hear about United Fresh initiatives on farm labor, FDA's proposed food safety rules, nutrition policy advances and other industry priorities. Growers attending the Fresh Impact Tour town hall, hosted at the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee offices, expressed concerns about the costs (in time and money) of multiple third-party audits required by customers. Growers at the town hall said that each audit can cost several thousand dollars and can often require operational practices that are different from other audits.

"Growers also told us that auditors are increasingly making evaluations on an operation's sustainability practices," said Ray Gilmer, United's vice president of issues management & communication. United members are invited to download the United Foundation's free Sustainability Guide to use as a tool for evaluating and enhancing sustainability programs.

Also on Friday, United's Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management, updated the town hall attendees on the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) and how to anticipate and address labeling requests from customers which may go beyond traceability.

United thanks the staff at the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee for their hospitality in helping to host the town hall event. Visit United's Facebook page to see pictures from all of United's Fresh Impact Tour events.

The Pennsylvania-New Jersey Fresh Impact Tour wrapped up on Thursday with visits to members in the Vineland area, followed by an industry reception.  Friday, the tour finished up with member visits in Northern New Jersey and a town hall luncheon at RLB/Freshpro.


Produce Industry Cannot Afford Delay in Passage of a New Farm Bill

After prolonged debate in the House of Representatives and the Senate, many people are asking how long will it take for Congress to finally pass a Farm Bill? Unfortunately, the answer at this point is far from clear. The Senate passed a comprehensive Farm Bill before the August recess. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, passed a scaled down, agriculture-only version of the Farm Bill. The difference between the two bills has many on Capitol Hill concerned that the debate over the Farm Bill in the Senate and House of Representatives will never end. It is possible that a Farm Bill won't be passed until the end of 2013, and perhaps, with the continued contention surrounding the House's version of the bill, may be extended into 2014. Some on Capitol Hill think it could take even longer.

What happens if Congress can't pass a Farm Bill? If a Farm Bill is not passed by September 30, 2013 then some of the current provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill that were extended for a year will expire.  However, there are programs of great interest to the produce industry that will not have continued legal authority under a basic extension, and proposed increases in funding for fruit and vegetable industry needs such as research and pest and disease mitigation will not be realized if a reauthorization is not passed. Nutrition programs, such as SNAP, which are critical to bolstering healthy eating habits among Americans across the country, could also be adversely affected unless those programs are reauthorized with adequate funding. Congress needs to know that the fruit and vegetable industry strongly supports these programs and urges their reauthorization with sufficient funding. This means that while it may sound simple, another extension is not a good thing for our industry.

It is essential that the produce industry tell their members of Congress that a true reauthorization, not an extension, of the Farm Bill needs to be passed as soon as possible. One way you can get your voice heard is to send Congress an email from the United Fresh Grassroots Action Network. It only takes a few minutes to send an email to your elected official that lets them know how important passing a Farm Bill is to America's produce industry. Learn more about sending your lawmakers an email through the Grassroots Action Network at


United Members Talk Government Relations in California Tour

David Marguleas of Sun World discusses the development new grape varieties to growers and customers during field tour last week

Robert and Congressman Kingston (GA) are joined by past United Fresh board member Barry Bedwell of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Renee Pinel of Western Plant Health Association for a roundtable discussion

Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, spent several days in California last week touring industry facilities and visiting with members to talk about important issues confronting the fresh produce industry in Washington, DC. Stops included San Miguel Produce, Inc., Apio, Inc., Deardorff Family Farms, Paramount Citrus, Sun World International LLC and Pandol Brothers, Inc.

"It was a great experience to discuss first-hand with our members some of the important policy and regulatory issues that they confront every day and even those that we may be looking at in the not too distant future," said Guenther. "This is an important opportunity to go back to Washington and share 'first-hand' with members of Congress and administration officials some of the challenges our members face in their current business environment," said Guenther. 

The week concluded with co-hosting a political roundtable in Fresno along with CropLife America, American Pistachio Growers, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, and California Citrus Mutual with Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), who is currently running for the open seat in Georgia for the United States Senate.   Congressman Kingston had a candid conversation with local industry leaders on issues such as immigration reform, environmental regulations and the Farm Bill debate in Congress.


Upcoming Ready Recall Training Workshop Equips Produce Industry with Essential Tools to Handle Product Recalls

Food recalls can have huge impacts on all sectors of the food supply, including growers, processors and retailers. The Grocery Manufacturers Association conducted a study in 2011 that investigated the cost of recalls to the produce industry. The study found that 58% of respondents had been affected by a product recall in the last five years. The study also found that in the future we should expect even more recalls to occur because of improved product traceability and increased regulatory authority and enforcement.

United Fresh is offering the Recall Ready Training Workshop, a two-day training session that helps growers, wholesalers, fresh-cut processors and others in the supply chain get ready for virtually any recall situation. The next Recall Ready Training Workshops will be held in Monterey, CA on September 18-19 and Philadelphia, PA on November 6-7. The hands-on workshop provides participants with an understanding of the fundamentals of a product recall, your rights and responsibilities, the role of the FDA and how to work with them, and strategies for limiting your liability and managing customer expectations.

Sparky Locke, Director of Operations at Apio, Inc., found the workshop to be significantly beneficial and informative. "All produce companies, regardless of size, should have representatives go through the program," said Sparky. Roxy Ostrem, Food Safety Compliance Manager for Boskovich Farms, Inc., agrees. "It is not if we have a recall, it is when. Everybody has a job to do during the recall and the training prepares everyone to be ready. A great training for everyone," said Roxy.

Limited space is available for the Recall Ready Training Workshops. Register today for the Recall Ready Training Workshop in Monterey, CA on September 18-19 or Philadelphia, PA on November 6-7.

To learn more about the Recall Ready Program, contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

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

The NEPC & EPC Produce Alliance Event
Sept 17-18, Marriott Mystic Hotel & Spa, Groton, CT

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

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

2013 Fall Leadership Alumni Dinner (Invitation Only Event)
Oct 1, Clyde's of Gallery Place, Washington, DC

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

United Fresh 2014
June 10-13, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL