October 10, 2013
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh and FMI Forge Three-Year Commitment for Chicago Trade Events

United Fresh and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are pleased to announce a three-year agreement to co-locate the organizations’ respective trade shows: United Fresh 2014 and FMI Connect, the Global Food Retail Experience. Registration is now open for the June 10-13, 2014 events in Chicago.

“Our partnership with United Fresh brings a vine-ripe vibrancy and fresh-picked energy to FMI Connect’s focus on the total store experience,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI’s president and CEO. “Forward-looking research affirms what we are seeing at store level – food retail customers are seeking to increase their knowledge and use of fresh products, making the produce sections critical points of differentiation among food retailers.”

Forty-one percent of FMI’s 2013 U.S. Grocery Retail Trends consumer respondents ranked better quality and variety of fresh foods, inclusive of produce, as the third-most influential factor behind price and selection for choosing a primary store, a supermarket that may not be the closest in proximity to the shopper’s home. Sarasin noted, “United Fresh and FMI’s  seasoned collaboration strengthens our ability to provide event-goers with solutions to growing basket size; increasing customer trips; improving margins; and increasing market share.”

“Today, there’s no question that fresh produce is a key differentiator for retailers in every channel,” said United President and CEO Tom Stenzel.  “With consumers increasingly looking for fresh produce for snacks, in ready-to-eat meals, and every cooking occasion, United Fresh 2014 will be a must-attend forum for retailers large and small who want to seize the produce opportunity for growth.”

Ron Midyett, United chairman and president and CEO of Apio, said, “The United Board of Directors see a great opportunity with this long-term partnership to build a top-to-top management focus for produce suppliers and their customers.  Together, we can bring fresh food solutions and innovations to our customers that can significantly grow the total business.”

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer and FMI Chairman Fred Morganthall echoed the food industry’s goals for the Chicago trade show, saying, “The organizations’ 2014 signature events team-up to offer workable solutions whose range touches every aisle in the local store, reverberates throughout the industry and reaches internationally into every corner of the food retail globe.”

Learn more about the United Fresh 2014 by visiting the convention website. If you’re interested in registering for the conference, visit our website to learn more about registration options.

Impact of Federal Government Shutdown on Produce Industry Programs

As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, there are a number of important programs and federal government functions that are being affected by the political stalemate between Congress and the Administration.  Below are updates on key programs and operations that may impact the produce industry.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – There are several programs within the AMS that will continue during the federal government shutdown.  These include the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Program; Specialty Crop Inspections; Plant Variety Protection Program; Commodity Purchase Services; and Research and Promotion Programs.  The following AMS programs and functions have been furloughed, Country of Origin Labeling Program; Market News; Marketing Agreements and Orders; National Organic Standards Program; Pesticide Data Program; Standardization; and Specialty Crop Block Grants.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) – Because some functions under APHIS are derived from Trust Funds, User Fees, and no-year funding, there are a number of programs that will be continued through the shutdown.  These include preclearance and inspection of fruit, veg, and nursery productsactivities for preclearing and inspecting fruits, vegetables, and nursery products before they are shipped to the United States; issuing of phytosanitary certificates for plant material bound for export;  Agricultural quarantine and inspection services in connection with the arrival at a port in the customs territory of the United States, or the preclearance or preinspection at a site outside the customs territory of the United States, of an international passenger, commercial vessel, commercial aircraft, commercial truck, or railroad car;   Current responses to several agricultural emergencies involving invasive pests and diseases; APHIS will continue to operate and manage the 10201 program through the government shutdown. In addition, APHIS will continue border and costal surveillance programs including agricultural quarantine and inspection surveillance activities prevent the introduction of plant pests into the country. 

Foreign Agricultural Service  (FAS) – During the shutdown, FAS will discontinue administering all market development programs including the Market Access Program and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops

USDA Nutrition ProgramsWomen Infant and Children (WIC) program has received temporary operating funds thru October 31, 2013. The temporary operating funds are a combination of $125 million in contingency funds released by USDA on Oct 1 and unspent FY’2013. WIC will have no funds available after Oct 31, 2013. Child Nutrition Programs (CNP), including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into October. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) funds are funds available thru end of October because FFVP schools are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month. DoD Fresh ordering website for schools is operating.  Programs that are not functioning during the government shutdown include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), WIC Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program has funds available through October.

Rural Development (RD) – Both the Value-Added Grant Program along with Section 516 of the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant Program will not continue during the government shutdown.

Research, Education, and Economics (REE) – The Specialty Crop Research Initiative and other research and economic activities at USDA would be closed during the government shutdown.

Risk Management Agency (RMA)RMA will not maintain any activities during a government shutdown. RMA will not maintain any staff to either pay contractual obligations or perform any regulatory functions such as editing data.

Department of Defense

Commissaries (DeCA) – Effective Wednesday, October 2, all U.S. Military Commissaries have shut down.  Overseas commissaries will remain open.

Department of Labor

As a result of the shutdown, the Department of Labor will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, H-2A Applications, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.

Department of Homeland Security

Custom and Border Protection (CPB) , including CBP Cargo Security and Revenue Collections, as well as Border Security programs, including Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine Operations, will remain operational under a government shutdown because they have been deemed law enforcement necessary or necessary for the safety of life and protection of property.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)ICE detention and enforcement operations shall continue. The ICE Community and Detainee Helpline will remain operational.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – USCIS has indicated that the E-Verify system will be closed for the duration of the shutdown.    This means that E-Verify employers will not be able to process new hires’ E-Verify checks; in addition to any E-Verify system-related activities.   USCIS has advised E-Verify employers that the ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases will be suspended for cases affected by the shutdown.   Please note that the fact that an employer does not have to do an E-Verify check during the shutdown period, does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement — employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.

Environmental Protection Agency

It appears that most activities and staff related to the Office of Pesticide Program are furloughed due to the government shutdown.

Health and Human Services

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – FDA would continue limited activities related to its user fee funded programs including the activities in the Center for Tobacco Products. FDA would also continue select vital activities including maintaining critical consumer protection to handle emergencies, high-risk recalls, civil and criminal investigations, import entry review, and other critical public health issues. FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula), and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) – CDC will continue minimal support to protect the health and well-being of US citizens here and abroad through a significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center. CDC would be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program, outbreak detection and linking across state boundaries using genetic and molecular analysis, continuous updating of disease treatment and prevention recommendations (e.g., HIV, TB, STDs, hepatitis), and technical assistance, analysis, and support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance.

Updates to this information will be posted periodically to the United Fresh website. Click on the website in the future to see updates to produce industry programs. If you have questions, please contact Julie Manes at 202-303-3404.


Policy and Produce: Highlights From Leadership Class 19’s Mid-Atlantic Trip

United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Class 19 members came together for a week-long trip that took them to Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. The class attended United’s Washington Public Policy Conference, which enabled them to engage in important policy discussions impacting the industry and network with hundreds of members, as well as many leadership program alumni. The class participated in all aspects of the conference, including the advocacy seminar, policy issues workshops, visits to Capitol Hill. They even introduced keynote speakers during the general sessions.

Following their stay in Washington, DC, they headed north to Gettysburg, PA to learn leadership lessons from the Civil War. From there, the class traveled to Gardners, PA for a visit to Rice Fruit Company, where Vice President John Rice led the group on a tour of their apple orchards and packing house. Additional stops in Pennsylvania included an Amish produce auction, followed by a visit to Four Seasons Produce, where Class 15 Leadership Alumnus Jason Hollinger, General Manager, hosted a luncheon and tour of their expansive facility.

Next stop for the class was to Wilmington, DE, the site of DuPont's corporate headquarters. The class met with DuPont Crop Protection executives and researchers and took a behind the scenes tour of the Stine-Haskell Research Center. The class concluded their trip at DuPont’s Chesapeake Farms with an intense training session on Crisis Communications, facilitated by DuPont's veteran crisis communications expert, Gil Meyer.

The class meets next in Arizona this February, followed by their final trip in June to the United Fresh 2014 convention in Chicago. The Produce Industry Leadership Program is offered through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Development and is made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, sponsor of the program since its inception in 1995. For more information about the program, please contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.

Turbana and Price Chopper Team up to Support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Turbana CEO, Juan Alarcon and Price Chopper’s, Maureen Murphy, along with United policy and grassroots manager, Andrew Marshall, celebrate the partnership between Turbana and Price Chopper to support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.  Salad bar ribbon cutting at Vails Gate High Tech Magnet Elementary School (Newburgh, NY), with Price Chopper and Turbana executives, school officials and students.

On Wednesday, United Fresh joined Turbana CEO Juan Alarcon and representatives from Price Chopper at the Vails Gates Magnet Elementary School in New Windsor, New York to announce the donation of salad bars to schools in the Price Chopper communities of Newburgh, New York and Keene, New Hampshire. More than 5,000 students will benefit from the salad bar donations. The event was held in conjunction with school and community leaders from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District and highlighted the district’s efforts to provide students with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable choices every day at school lunch. 

“These salad bar donations couldn’t come at a better time,” said Andrew Calvano, Food Service Director, Newburgh Enlarged City School District. “We have an active Wellness Committee that has a goal to place a salad bar in every school, and we’ve already successfully implemented a salad bar at one of our middle schools. This contribution from Turbana and Price Chopper will enable us to expand our salad bar program, supporting our mission to provide healthy choices and educate students on the importance of healthy eating.”

Schools receiving salad bars include Vails Gates Magnet Elementary School and Newburgh Free Academy in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, and Wheelock Elementary School and Keene High School in Keene, New Hampshire.

Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s policy and grassroots manager, joined Turbana and Price Chopper officials at the press event. Marshall highlighted how United’s partnership in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative is helping schools nationwide to significantly increase the amount and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables they serve every day and  empower students to make healthy choices.

“Today was a great day,” said Marshall. “It was clear the kids enjoy having their new salad bar, making their own choices and eating more fresh fruits and veggies.”

  For more information about Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, or supporting salad bars for schools in your community, visit the United Fresh website or contact Andrew Marshall at (202) 303-3407.


Register Today for the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Auditor Workshop!

Limited seats are still available for the Produce GAPs Harmonization Post-Harvest Operations Train the Trainer Workshop October 30 and 31 in Maitland, Florida. Register today to participate in the workshop! The workshop focuses on the use and interpretation of the Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Standards. The course is open to auditors and all interested parties.

The two-day workshop will be held at the headquarters of Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and Florida Tomato Exchange. The workshop will feature the official training materials developed by the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Calibration Committee, designed to standardize food safety auditors’ expectations of post-harvest packing, holding and cooling operations using the Harmonized Standards. Workshop leaders will include Calibration Committee members from Quality Certification Services, Equicert and USDA AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Division.

“While the Harmonized Standards go a long way to reducing the potential for conflicting food safety expectations, it all comes down to the auditor,” said Dr. David Gombas, United’s senior vice president of food safety and technology. “Having a single standard doesn’t reduce audit fatigue if different auditors interpret the standards in different ways. This workshop was developed to better calibrate auditors from different audit organizations in how the Harmonized Standards are supposed to be used. We’ll cover the details of what an auditor should expect to see at an operation, how an auditor should judge that operation based on the evidence they see and how that judgment can change in different situations.”
For more information please contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402. More information about the Harmonized Standards, including downloadable versions of the Field Operations and Harvesting and the Post-harvest Operations standards, is available on United’s website.


Don’t Miss the Upcoming Recall Ready Training Workshop in November!

Recalls can impact the entire produce supply chain and United wants to help you prepare for a recall and be ready to respond when a crisis occurs. United’s Recall Ready Training Workshop covers the essential elements you'll need to manage a recall. The next Recall Ready Training Workshop will be taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 6-7. Don’t miss your chance to attend this important workshop. Register today!

The Recall Ready Training Workshop will help you understand the fundamentals of a recall, know your rights and responsibilities and know the role of the FDA and how to work with them. Dr. Susan M. Pheasant, Principal Consultant of TheAgBridge, attended the Recall Ready Training Workshop in Monterey, California. Through the workshop, Dr. Pheasant learned the essence of a recall program, including how to prepare her team, traceability, the FDA Reportable Food Registry and crisis communication.

“With multiple group exercises we were able to utilize adapted life experiences to help us apply the instructions provided by the deeply knowledgeable and experienced team of speakers,” said Pheasant. “The grand finale to this incredibly valuable training included a candid presentation by a firm sharing its actual experiences in having gone through and successfully surviving a recall.”

There’s still time to register for the Recall Ready Training Workshop. The workshop is just one component of the Recall Ready Program, which also offers recall plan development and training to help produce industry companies prepare for and respond to virtually any recall event. It also offers rapid response services to assist during recalls. For more information, please visit the Recall Ready Training Workshop website or contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.


New Member Welcome
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Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a strong produce industry.

  • Blackbird Seven, Blackfoot, ID

United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the association and the produce industry. For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events
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Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce GAPs Harmonization Post-Harvest Operations Train the Trainer Workshop
Oct 30-31, Florida Tomato Exchange/Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland, FL

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

2014 Produce Executive Development Program
Mar 9-14, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

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