April 3, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United's "Now Boarding for Chicago" Fresh Impact Tour Makes Stops in New York and Pennsylvania

Lou Penza, Pinto Bros. (left) and United's Tom Stenzel touring the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market before Wednesday's town hall luncheon.

Ron Carkoski, United vice chairman, and president & CEO at the Four Seasons Family of Companies, welcomes attendees to the Town Hall in Ephrata, PA

The United Fresh 2014 Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tour continued this week with events in the New York City area and Pennsylvania. Starting the week, Tom Stenzel, United CEO, and Miriam Wolk, vice president of membership & marketing, traveled to the South Bronx for a luncheon meeting with several representatives of companies on the Hunts Point Produce Market. Discussion included food safety for wholesalers, distributors and importers; how to increase federal, state and local support for improving terminal market infrastructure and programs to increase consumption and educating consumers about how the produce supply chain works.

Also on Monday, United met with representatives from the New York City Public Schools food program – SchoolFood. The group explored strategies for building upon the success NYC schools have had incorporating fresh produce into school meals, as well as how school officials can continue to build relationships within the fresh produce industry.

On Tuesday, Ron Carkoski, United vice chairman, and president & CEO at the Four Seasons Family of Companies, hosted a luncheon for more than 50 growers and industry partners at his company's facilities in Ephrata, PA. Topics included the continued need for immigration reform, United's review of the proposed FDA rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the positive effect of salad bars on increasing produce consumption.

On Wednesday, at a Town Hall hosted by the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, United met with 30 produce executives about industry priorities, including the work United is doing to improve efficiencies with U.S. Customs and port-related issues. The visit included a tour of the Philadelphia market.

Also at of this week's tour stops, United took the opportunity to preview the business opportunities available at United Fresh 2014, June 10-13 in Chicago.

The Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tour continues in the next two weeks with stops in Washington, Idaho and California. To see a list of the upcoming Town Hall meetings, visit the United Fresh website. Be sure to visit the United Fresh Facebook page, where members and staff are posting updates and photos. Follow us online or attend a Town Hall to join in on the Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tours! For more information, contact Miriam Wolk, United vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.


United Fresh Voices Support for Introduction of School Food Modernization Act

United Fresh today issued a statement by President & CEO Tom Stenzel in support of the introduction of the School Food Modernization Act in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

"We applaud Sens. Collins and Heitkamp for their bipartisan leadership to help schools upgrade their cafeteria equipment and infrastructure.  Students across the country are excited about new fresh produce choices in salad bars, breakfast and lunch options, and even fresh vending.   But, many schools need larger walk- in refrigerators, portable salad bars, shelving, and electrical infrastructure upgrades to meet the needs of their students for fresh, high-quality school meals and snacks.  We strongly support the School Food Modernization Act to provide both loan and grant assistance programs to schools, as well as a similar bill HR 1783 in the House introduced by Reps. Tom Latham and Mike McIntyre in 2013."

Increasing children's access to fresh fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the school day is a top priority for the country in reaching public health goals.  The new nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast, as well as Smart Snacks in Schools, are a key step in tackling childhood obesity to prevent the onset of chronic disease and reducing health care costs.   School salad bars and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program are helping to transform schools across the country to support children's health and lifelong food preferences for fresh, healthy foods.

United Fresh continues to be a leading advocate for both public and private sector investments in school cafeteria equipment. The United Fresh Foundation is a founding partner of the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has raised funds to donate salad bars to more than 3,400 schools nationwide.  

For more information, contact United's Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.

United Fresh Submits Comments on FSMA Draft Animal Feed Rule

Earlier this week, United Fresh provided comments to FDA for its proposed rule covering food for animals under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). United's comments for the proposed rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals, focused on the potential impact on fresh produce handling operations that grow, handle or ship produce to animal feed manufacturers, usually in the form of culls and waste.

In comments to FDA, United cited the rule's exemption of farms and other facilities that hold or transport only raw agricultural commodities:

"We support this exemption, and strongly recommend that this exemption extend to all operations that handle and ship only culls and waste of raw, intact fresh produce, consistent with our [previous] comments to the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food proposed rules, including operations of any size that handle fresh fruits and vegetables …."

United's comments to FDA also include recommended exemptions for other types of facilities that produce or handle produce culls or waste intended for animal feed. The entire comments document can be viewed here on United's website at www.UnitedFresh.org/FSMA. For more information, please contact Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president, food safety and technology, at 202-303-3400.

FDA Announces Availability of Draft Guidance on Prior Notice of Imported Foods

FDA this week announced the availability of a draft guidance entitled Guidance for Industry: Prior Notice of Imported Food Questions and Answers (Edition 3). The draft guidance addresses questions received since the publication of the second edition of the guidance in May 2004 and includes information related to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which requires that additional information be provided in a prior notice of imported food submitted to FDA.

Foods subject to the prior notice import rule include fruits and vegetables, as well as fish and seafood, dairy products, and other food products or ingredients. More information related to imports under FSMA can be found here.

Please contact Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president, food safety and technology, at 202-303-3411 for more information.


Final Days to Apply for the United Fresh Industry Leadership Program

You have until Monday, April 7, to apply for the 20th class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program. Thanks to the generous support of founding sponsor DuPont Crop Protection, United members have the opportunity to take part in this unique experience dedicated to developing future leaders of the industry. Since it was first launched in 1995, more than 200 industry members have graduated from this exclusive program.

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. The United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program is the only ongoing, fully paid leadership program for the produce industry.

During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips including face-to-face meetings, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year's schedule will include four trips, with the class graduating at the 2015 United Fresh Convention in Chicago.

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. 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 mailto:syoung@unitedfresh.orgor 202-303-3405.

The deadline for applications is April 7, 2014, so apply soon!

Enjoy the Taste of Chicago – Register for United Fresh 2014 Today

Register today for United Fresh 2014 and you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of Chicago giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in Chicago! 

Every Friday, starting April 4, through June 6, 2014, United Fresh will draw three lucky winners from the United Fresh 2014 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Chicago's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor Testa Produce, Inc. 

This week's drawing features these great Chicago restaurants: Antico Posto, Osteria Via Stato and Petterino's.

Watch for the weekly announcement from United Fresh to see if you're a winner and Register now for United Fresh 2014 for the best chance to win!


Brand Differentiation for Driving Produce Sales Is Focus for Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference

United's Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference, June 12-13, immediately following United Fresh 2014, brings together marketing professionals from throughout the produce supply chain to focus on the role of branding in fresh produce.  Attendees will participate in four sessions throughout the day, each examining a different element of branding. In each session, a marketing expert will kick off the discussion with a state-of-the-art review of the topic, followed by a panel of produce industry marketing pros discussing how the topic plays out in the fresh produce sector.

Also, legendary brand strategist Al Ries will keynote this year's conference. Ries is renowned as one of the most influential figures in marketing history.

This year's conference kicks off Thursday night with a one-of-a-kind experience at Eataly, Chicago's new fresh food destination marketplace. Conference attendees will be provided a $50 gift card for Eataly, where they can sample foods at a variety of sit-down foodservice tables, prepared grab and go food options, and beverage selections to enjoy while touring a venue unlike any other. Attendees can drop by Eataly throughout the evening to enjoy their own dinner, watch how consumers interact with produce and other foods in this setting, and mingle with other conference attendees. In addition, Eataly management will speak at the conference lunch on Friday to discuss how fresh produce supports the Eataly brand experience.

Registration for the Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference is included in the All Access registration for United Fresh 2014, which includes all general sessions, meals and networking events, educational programs and admission to the United Fresh Marketplace, FreshTech, and FMI expos. Conference registration can also be purchased separately as a stand-alone event, including trade show admission.

For a complete schedule of events and speakers, please visit Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference on our website at www.UnitedFreshShow.org.

University of Georgia and United Offer Hands-On HACCP Course for the Fresh-Cut Industry 

The University of Georgia Food Science Extension Outreach Program and United Fresh are sponsoring a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification program on safe fresh-cut produce handling practices. The course is offered May 6-8, 2014 at the University of Georgia in Athens.

This program has been specifically designed for the fresh-cut industry and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. The goal of this program will be to provide you with the skills and knowledge to design, implement, document and maintain HACCP in your fresh-cut business. Our short course provides a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts, and authorities from academia, industry and government. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

This program has been designed to meet the FDA's training requirements and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance, whose goal is to provide standardized training for the food industry in HACCP principles. The course curriculum was developed to help processors understand, develop and apply HACCP principles in their produce operations. 

Owners, plant managers, quality assurance personnel, production supervisors, field inspectors, marketing directors, and anyone responsible for designing and implementing field and fresh-cut food safety programs are encouraged to attend. 

Visit the course website for more information and to register. Prepaid registration is required by April 18, 2014. Register by April 18, 2014 - fee $550; United Fresh member registered by April 18 - fee $500 (save $50). Register three or more from the same company at the same time before April 18, 2014, and receive a $50 per person discount on the regular registration fee. Limited to 40 participants, so register early! 

PTI FYI Newsletter Includes Updates on Retailer Implementation

The latest issue of the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) FYI newsletter includes an update on Walmart's PTI implementation, as well as news about development of best practices for printing and applying Hybrid Pallet Labels.   You can access this edition of PTI FYI on the PTI website in English, Spanish and French.

The Produce Traceability Initiative is administered jointly by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh. For more information, please contact Dan Vaché, vice president, supply chain & logistics, at 425-629-6271.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Gumz Farms, Endeavor, WI
  • FarmLogix, Evanston, IL
  • LemonTree Products, Ontario, Canada
  • Nutrigo S.A DE C.V., Distrito Federal, Mexico
  • Orangeline Farms, Ontario, Canada
  • TENRIT Foodtec GmbH & Co. Kg., Germany
  • Young Appraisal & Consulting, Vero Beach, FL

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.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Seattle Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 7, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA

Spring Government Relations Council Meeting
April 8-10, Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, DC

Yakima Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 9, Gasperetti's Gourmet Restaurant, Yakima, WA

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

Visalia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 16, The Vintage Press, Visalia, CA

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