December 12, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Submit Your Proposal for a United Fresh 2014 Educational Workshop Today

Thousands of attendees will gather in Chicago this June for United Fresh 2014, a trade show providing cutting-edge education sessions that explore trends impacting the global food industry, technical solutions driving efficiencies and advancements in the produce supply chain. United Fresh is now accepting proposals for education sessions for United Fresh 2014. Education sessions will take place on the trade show floor at the Fresh Tech Learning Center and Fresh Marketplace Learning Center.

“We know attendees come to our convention for unique content and thought-provoking sessions, and we look forward to making the 2014 show an incredible educational experience for all who attend,” said Shannon Young, United’s education manager.

Industry members interested in presenting an education session can download the proposal submission form. Proposals should be emailed to Shannon Young, United’s education manager, at . The deadline to submit a proposal is January 15, 2014.  For more information, contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.
You can review presentations from United Fresh 2013 by clicking here.

The United Fresh 2014 Convention will take place June 10-13 in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center.  The Learning Center workshops will run during the expo hours on June 11-12 and will be open to United Fresh 2014 attendees and FMI Connect attendees.

United’s David Gombas Talks to Almond Growers about the Good, Bad and Ugly of Proposed FSMA Rules

Dr. David Gombas, United’s senior vice president of food safety and technology, spoke to a packed house of almond growers about the impacts of FDA’s proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules at the 2013 Almond Conference in Sacramento last week. Gombas described five FSMA rules proposed by FDA, including Produce Safety Standards, Preventive Controls for Human Food and Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Gombas explained that FDA did well in some areas, but there is still work that needs to be done on the proposed rules. “The FDA developed clear protocols concerning the most likely risks, animal monitoring, worker hygiene and mandatory records,” said Gombas. “The areas that FDA still needs to refine in the proposed rules involve the definition of ‘farm,’ establishing water and other metrics for testing and allowing for commodity-specific factors that affect actual risk.”

Gombas believes the biggest area of contention in the FSMA proposed rules is the water testing standards. The proposed FSMA rules require testing wells every three months throughout the growing season, protected surface water on a monthly basis and surface water subject to runoff every week. “FDA’s requirements for water testing could be incredibly taxing for growers in terms of time and money,” said Gombas. “Weekly testing is going to get expensive and some water sources, such as rivers and lakes, are outside of growers’ control. Worse, scientists already agree that generic E. coli are not good indicators of pathogens in water, which is the whole point of testing.” 

Gombas also discussed the proposed FSMA rule, Preventive Controls for Animal Feed. This rule involves culls and sheller and huller waste. The comment period for this proposed rule closes on February 26, 2014.


Don’t Miss Your Chance to Join USDA’s 2013-2015 Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee

Only two weeks left to submit your application to join USDA’s 2013-2015 Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee. USDA will be accepting nominations until Thursday, December 26, 2013. The Committee examines a broad range of issues impacting the fruit and vegetable industry and provides counsel and recommendations to the USDA on how its programs can better meet industry needs. Committee members represent the full fruit and vegetable industry supply chain, including growers, shippers, wholesalers, brokers, retailers, processors, fresh cut processors and foodservice suppliers.

 “USDA takes the input from Committee members very seriously and it is great to see the Committee being rechartered,” said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy at United Fresh. “This Committee brings USDA critical information about what’s happening in the produce industry and how the Department of Agriculture’s policies impact the day-to-day operations of businesses across the country.”

United Fresh will be submitting a list of recommended nominees, if you wish to be added to the United Fresh list of recommended nominees, contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416 by 5 pm on December 20. Each individual must also personally submit your complete contact information (name, company, phone and email required) as well as a detailed description of your qualifications in the industry (resume, bio, etc.) to USDA by December 26, 2013.

Nominations should be addressed to: Charles W. Parrott, Deputy Administrator, c/o Pamela Stanziani, Designated Federal Officer, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, USDA Room 2077-S, Stop 0235, Washington, D.C. 20250-0235. Nominations may be e-mailed to or faxed to (202) 720-0016.

For further information or questions, please contact Robert Guenther at 202-303-3409.

United Chairman Ron Midyett and United's Jeff Oberman Thank Save Mart CARES For Salad Bar Donations to CA Schools

Ron Midyett (left), Apio, Inc. Chief Executive Office and United Fresh Chairman of the Board; Sharon Briel, Food Service Director Kern Union High School District; Nicole Piccinini, Save Mart CARES and Steve Junqueiro, Save Mart President and COO.

United Chairman Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio, and Jeff Oberman, vice president of trade relations, met with Steve Junqueiro, Save Mart President and COO, and Nicole Piccinini, Save Mart CARES, at their store in Bakersfield. United Chairman Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio, was also on hand to discuss issues important to United’s members and thank Save Mart CARES for their generous contribution of salad bars for 10 California schools.

Earlier this year, Save Mart CARES awarded a grant to the United Fresh Foundation to provide salad bars to schools in the Save Mart market area, which included schools in Bakersfield, Armona and Chowchilla. Sharon Briel, foodservice director for the Kern Union High School District located in Bakersfield, attended this week’s meeting to share how the Save Mart donation is benefitting students in her district, helping provide greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables every day at school lunch. The Kern Union High School District received eight salad bars from the Save Mart CARES donation.

Last May at the United convention in San Diego, we announced the donation of salad bars for 436 California schools as part of our Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign. To date more than 700 California schools throughout the state have received salad bars, thanks to the generous contribution of produce industry, retail and foundation donors.

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


United Attends School Event with The Produce Mom

John Brasington (left), District Sales Manager, Dole Fresh Fruit; Nick Mascari, New Business Development, Indianapolis Fruit Company; and Andrew Marshall, United Fresh Produce Association.

Indianapolis Colts tight end, Coby Fleener, participates in the Find Your Favorite event and talks with students about his favorite vegetable, spinach.

Tuesday, United’s Policy and Grassroots Manager Andrew Marshall joined representatives from the Indianapolis Fruit Company, The Produce Mom Lori Taylor and local produce industry representatives at the first ever, Find Your Favorite in-school assembly, featuring Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener and the team’s revered mascot, Blue.

The Produce Mom’s Find Your Favorite uses “heroes,” celebrity role models from sports, arts and public safety fields, to encourage students to try a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and to find their favorite. The program started in Indianapolis public schools this year, and plans to expand to reach 10,000 schools nationwide next year.

The Indianapolis Colts have been a key supporter and helped to organize this week’s school event. Coby Fleener, the designated “spinach hero”, was on hand at Danville South Elementary School to talk with students about why he enjoys eating spinach and the importance of eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare for his games. Other heroes participated in the school show via Skype, each sharing their favorite produce items. WNBA star Tamika Catchings from the Indiana Fever spoke about her favorite fruit – pineapple. Graham Rahal, a NASCAR driver, is the kiwifruit hero and spoke about what he loves most about kiwis. David Boudia, an Olympic gold medalist in diving, professed his love for blueberries.

To access the video of Tuesday’s event, click here. Following the show, Marshall met with members of the Indianapolis Fruit Company team and enjoyed the opportunity to tour their state of the art warehouse and fresh-cut facility.


Make a Resolution to Be More Sustainable in 2014

United’s grower-shippers are invited to participate in a 2014 pilot group for United’s Sustainability Guide and Self-Assessment. The Guide assists producers in understanding four key areas of sustainability - stewardship of resources, environmental impacts, social accountability, and economic success/viability. The Guide also helps producers share their story about practices and processes that many already incorporate into their operations.

“When growers conduct an evaluation of their sustainability programs, they can use that information to improve efficiencies in their own businesses, and share it with business partners and other stakeholders to explain their commitment to sustainable practices,” said Ray Gilmer, United’s vice president of issues management & communication.

Growers who participate in the 2014 pilot group will use the Guide in their operations and then provide feedback and suggestions to help shape improvements for future guidance. Use of the Guide is voluntary and growers will not be asked to submit their own sustainability data.

The Sustainability Guide and Self-Assessment was developed by the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Global Produce Sustainability, with the contributions of the Center's Sustainability Advisory Board, a group of United Fresh volunteer leaders representing a broad spectrum of the produce industry.

More information about the United Foundation’s Center for Global Sustainability can be found on the United Fresh Foundation website. United members can download a copy of the Guide for no charge. To sign up for the pilot group, please contact Ray Gilmer at 202-303-3425.


If You're a Volunteer Leader, Don't Miss Your Chance to Join the 2014 Winter Leadership Meetings

For all of our volunteer leaders who serve on United’s councils and market boards, don’t miss your chance to take part in the 2014 Winter Leadership Meetings in Miami this January. The Winter Leadership Meetings bring together more than 300 produce industry leaders to discuss the most critical challenges and opportunities facing the different segments of the produce industry, including areas such as finance and business management, food safety and technology, fresh-cut processing, government relations and supply chain logistics. The 2014 Winter Leadership Meetings will take place January 21-January 23, 2014 in Miami, FL at Trump National Doral Miami.

On the first day of the meetings, local industry tours will take place, as well as The Salute to Joe Procacci Golf Tournament and the Produce Legends Reception & Dinner. These festivities are followed by a series of council and board meetings. To see the complete meeting schedule, click here.

Be sure to register online for the Winter Leadership Meetings and reserve your housing by December 23.


This All-Star Program Offers World-Class Faculty and Industry Icon Speakers

If you are considering an executive management course, look no further. The 2014 United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program offers world class faculty, industry icon guest speakers, relevant and interactive study topics and a classroom full of like-minded peers. Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods, described the course as the “all-star program.” Attendees receive a customized experience and personalized feedback.

Scott McQuiston, vice president and food safety director of Dawson's Orchards, joined the program based on the scope and relevance of the topics but what he experienced was so much more. "I was really impressed by how well the lessons matched my professional objectives and the challenges facing our company,” said Scott. “It was practically a custom-designed plan for making our business more competitive."

Watch a video to hear what other industry leaders are saying about their Cornell experience.

The Executive Development Program takes place March 9-14, 2014 at the Cornell University Statler Hotel & Executive Conference Center in Ithaca, NY. Registration for the course is limited to 40 attendees to ensure a dynamic yet intimate learning environment. To learn more about the 2014 Produce Executive Program, visit United’s website. If you have questions, feel free to contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.


FDA Provides Translation of Supportive Materials for Two Proposed FSMA Rules

FDA provides translations of materials on two proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules: Proposed Rule to Establish Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals. FDA has translated facts sheets and presentations on the two rules into a wide range of languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. FDA offered these translations as a service to the broad international audience who are interested in the development of the FSMA rules, and are likely to be impacted by the final rules.

To download the translated FSMA materials, visit FDA’s website. United Fresh offers materials that provide an overview of FSMA and the proposed rules, on United’s website.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Horticulture Australia Ltd., Wales, Australia
  • Sunshine Bouquet Company, Dayton, 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 Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2014 Supporters

The Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed this week to the 2014 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Costco Wholesale
  • Giant Eagle Markets, Inc.
  • Stemilt Growers, LLC
  • Walter P Rawl & Sons Inc.

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support.  For more information on the Chairman’s Roundtable, please contact Senior Director of Membership Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jan 13-17, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

2014 Winter Leadership Meetings
Jan 21-23, Trump National Doral Miami, Miami, FL

The Salute to Joe Procacci Golf Tournament and Produce Legends Dinner
Jan 21, 2014, Trump National Doral Miami, Miami, FL

United Fresh Special Activities at Fruit Logistica 2014
Feb 5-7, 2014, Berlin, Germany

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

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jun 2-6, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

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

2014 Washington Public Policy Conference
Sep 8-10, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Produce Inspection Training Program
Sep 22-26, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA