February 20, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Now Accepting Applications for the 20th Produce Industry Leadership Program

The application period is now open for the 20th class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program. Thanks to the generous support of founding sponsor DuPont Crop Protection, for the past 20 years United members have had the opportunity to take part in this unique experience dedicated to developing future leaders of the industry. Since it was first launched in 1995, over 200 industry members have graduated from this exclusive program.

"Twenty years is a major milestone and we are incredibly indebted to DuPont for their steadfast support and the investment they have made in the produce industry," said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO.  "We are so proud of the many graduates of this program and the work they've done to drive our industry forward."

The United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program is the only ongoing, fully paid leadership program for the produce industry.  Each year, twelve fellows are selected to participate in the program which is developed around four fundamental goals: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs; and media and public relations.

"As a graduate of this program, I can personally attest to the value it brings not only to the participants, but to the industry at large," said United Chairman of the Board Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio Inc. "I strongly encourage anyone looking to advance their leadership skills to apply for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity."

Participation in the program is limited to 12 fellows who are selected by an Advisory Committee.  The fellows are chosen from a broad cross-section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership.  Candidates interested in applying for the 20th class can download an application at unitedfresh.org/leadership.  The deadline for applications is April 7, 2014.

Eligibility to participate in the program is limited to representatives of United Fresh member companies, and all candidates must have the support of their companies to participate. There is no cost to participate in the program and all regular expenses are covered by the program. For full more information, visit unitedfresh.org/leadership or contact United Education Manager Shannon Young at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.


Check Out Special Discounts for Air Travel to United Fresh 2014 in Chicago

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines are offering discounts for individuals booking flights to travel to Chicago for the United Fresh 2014 convention in June. American Airlines is offering a 5 percent discount on booking flights, while Delta Airlines offers a variety of discounts depending on the type of ticket. Each airline requires a different discount code to be entered when booking the flights. To learn more about the discounts offered by American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, visit our convention website.

Only a Week Left to Submit Your Nominations for Outstanding Retail Produce Managers

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2014 Retail Produce Manager Awards is February 28, 2014. Send in your nomination today to honor exceptional produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working every day to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. United Fresh will award 25 of the industry's top retail produce managers with the 2014 Retail Produce Managers Awards. These managers will be honored for their commitment to fresh produce, innovative merchandising, community service and customer satisfaction. Award winners will be recognized at the United Fresh 2014 Convention in Chicago, IL.

The 25 winning produce managers and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary roundtrip airfare to Chicago for the United Fresh 2014 Convention, full conference registration for the convention, two nights lodging, a commemorative plaque and recognition at the Produce Celebration Gala held at the convention. Five grand prize winners will also receive $1,000.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from the United website and submitted online.


Time Is Running Out to Nominate Incredible Chefs and Foodservice Operators

Don't miss your chance to honor exceptional chefs and foodservice operators. The deadline to submit nominations for the 2014 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program is February 28, 2014. Submit your nominations today!

United's 2014 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program honors the industry's most innovative chefs and foodservice operators. The program is sponsored by PRO*ACT, LLC, and has honored more than 30 different chefs and foodservice operators for their exceptional work in incorporating fresh produce in menu development, proper food safety and handling, engaging in community outreach and building an overall positive dining experience with fresh produce as a centerpiece.

The winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2014 on June 10-13 in Chicago. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Gala, and the chefs will also participate in the education program at United Fresh 2014 to share their views on produce trends in foodservice.  PRO*ACT will also make a donation to a charitable organization of each winner's choice.

More information on nominating nomination information is available online. For more information about the award program, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Join United's Working Groups on FDA High-Risk Foods and Sanitary Transportation Rule Today!

United Fresh members and their companies are invited to participate on Working Groups that will review two new proposals by the FDA affecting the fresh produce industry.

FDA has issued the seventh FSMA rule, on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food ("Sanitary Transportation").  While FDA proposes to exempt transport of raw agricultural commodities when transported by a farm, they propose that all major shippers, motorized carriers and receivers of FDA regulated foods in the U.S. be covered, including transport of fresh produce by independent carriers.  The regulation will set requirements for shippers and receivers, sanitary conditions for transporters and, where needed for food safety or to prevent spoilage, temperature control and monitoring.  The comment period for this proposed rule closes May 31, 2014.

FDA has also issued a proposed draft approach for "the review and evaluation of data to designate high-risk foods."  FDA has proposed this to comply with the section of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which requires FDA to "designate high-risk foods for which additional recordkeeping requirements are appropriate and necessary to protect the public health."  FSMA also requires FDA to publish the list of high-risk foods on FDA's website "at the time when FDA issues final rules to establish the additional recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods."  The comment period for this proposal closes April 7, 2014.

As we have for the other FSMA-related proposed rules, United Fresh is inviting interested members to participate in Working Groups to review each of these rules, evaluate how they will impact the fresh produce industry and provide comments to FDA identifying what the produce industry agrees with and recommendations for changes.

If you or someone in your organization is interested in participating on one or both of these Working Groups, please contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402. We expect that both Working Groups will meet by web conference in early March.

There's Still Time to Register for the Produce GAPs Harmonization Post-Harvest Workshop

Don't miss the Produce GAPs Harmonization Post-Harvest Operations Train the Trainer Workshop on March 11-12 in Irvine, CA. 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.

This workshop will help auditors from different audit organizations learn how the Harmonized Standards are supposed to be used. During this training course, trainers will cover the details on 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.

The course is open to auditors and interested parties at a registration fee of $50. To register today, click here.  Information about the Harmonized Standards, including downloadable versions of both the Field Operations and Harvesting and Post-harvest Operations standards are available online.

For more information on the workshop or for registration assistance, please contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.


Learn How to Navigate Through a Recall Situation

Here's your chance to learn about navigation through a recall situation. The next Recall Ready Training Workshop will be held in April in the Seattle area. Meeting facilities have been generously provided by Costco at their corporate headquarters in the Seattle area. 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 Workshops cover the essential elements you'll need to manage a recall. Sign up today for the United Fresh Recall Ready Training Workshop at Costco Corporate Offices in Issaquah, WA on April 9-10.

This training will give you an understanding of the fundamentals of a recall, your rights and responsibilities and the role of the FDA and how to work with them. United's workshops combine recall protocols and communication management principles to ensure that both your technical food safety team and communication and marketing team work together effectively during the entire recall event. Register Your Team Today! Visit www.UnitedFresh.org/RecallReady to learn more about recall plan review and development, mock recall training and other services offered through United's Recall Ready Program.

Canadian Government Holds Webinar to Gain Input on Enhancing Trade Practices for Fresh Produce Sector

The Government of Canada (GoC) is seeking input on enhancing trading practices and financial risk mitigation for the Canadian fresh produce sector. In April 2013, the GoC announced its decision to consider a new approach to supporting the fair and ethical trade of fresh produce in Canada by addressing the current limitations to the Government's existing licensing regime.

On June 4, 2013, Canadian Food Inspection Agency began consultations on the Regulatory Framework regarding its Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), and specific to this initiative were questions regarding industry's support of a single dispute resolution body. This approach is expected to significantly reduce instances of slow, partial and non-payment as well as fraudulent activity within the fresh produce industry.

You are invited to attend a discussion on Enhancing Financial Risk Mitigation Tools for Canadian Fresh Produce Sector Webinar on Friday, February 14 at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

This discussion is to examine more closely the provisions of a single dispute resolution body, such as membership, contract requirements, process for arbitration and financial security requirements. Following the discussion period, the Government of Canada will review and consider comments received. A summary of key issues raised during the discussions will be prepared at the end of the engagement process and will be posted and presented at the appropriate stakeholder meetings.

If you have any questions about the webinar meeting, or would like to register, please contact Sem Ponnambalam at sem.ponnambalam@agr.gc.ca.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Context Network, Modesto, CA
  • Shelton's Farm Market, Niles, MI
  • Wick & Brother, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

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:

  • Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A.
  • Westlake Produce Company

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:

United Fresh Webinar Series: FDA’s Quantitative Risk Assessment – A Pathway to Irrigation Water Standards
Feb 21

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

Produce GAPs Harmonization Post-Harvest Operations Train the Trainer Workshop
March 11-12, Taco Bell Headquarters, Irvine, CA

Technical Working Group Meeting
March 13, Taco Bell Headquarters, Irvine, CA

Recall Ready Training Workshop
April 9-10, Costco Headquarters, Issaquah, WA

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