May 22, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Pushes Back on Attempt to Roll Back School Meal Standards

United Fresh delivered to the House and Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittees letters and half-cup measuring spoons with the message: Keep 1/2 Cup for Kids!

When the House and Senate develop their Agricultural Appropriations bills each year, the debates usually have to do with funding levels for various programs. These budget bills are supposed to allocate funding to implement laws and programs already in force. But this year a handful of Congressional members on the Appropriations committees have tried an end run around 2012 child nutrition standards for school meals, seeking to roll back provisions that require meals to contain at least one half-cup of fruits or vegetables.

Seeing this surprise attack coming, United Fresh delivered  letters, accompanied by half-cup measuring spoons, to both the House and Senate appropriators urging them to oppose any attempts to gut these very modest fruit and vegetable requirements for school meals. United has been actively working with public health partners and major national media to bring a spotlight to this attack. We’ve made a difference, leading to an editorial in the Washington Post and many stories hitting the desks of members of Congress.

Despite strong support for preserving nutrition standards from Ranking Member Sam Farr (D-CA) and several other members, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee passed a provision Tuesday allowing schools a waiver to opt-out of all requirements if they were having trouble financially.

Fortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee took wiser action Thursday morning, passing provisions to help schools deal with stringent requirements for sodium and whole grains, without gutting the basic requirement that schools serve at least one half-cup of fruits and vegetables in meals. United issued a press release commending the Senate action, and called on all parties to now turn our attention to helping schools meet the fruit and vegetable standards, rather than opting out of serving even a half-cup.

However, the battle may not be over, as the full House Appropriations Committee takes this up again next Thursday, and a conference committee between the House and Senate will eventually have to resolve differences. United and its allies will keep up the pressure to put kids’ health first, preserving the modest gains made in bringing more fruits and vegetables to the nation’s schoolchildren in this important learning environment.


FDA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is extending the comment period 60 days on its proposed rule “Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.” The comment period was scheduled to end May 31, 2014. FDA’s action comes following a request by United Fresh and 21 other organizations to extend the comment period.

The extension also applies to the associated information collection provisions. The proposed rule appeared in the February 5, 2014 issue of the Federal Register. FDA is taking this action in response to requests for additional time to submit comments.

The proposed rule, which is required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), would require certain shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation. It would establish criteria for sanitary transportation practices, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads, and properly protecting food during transportation.

For more information, please contact Robert Guenther, senior vice president, public policy, at 202-303-3400.

FreshDirect, Wegmans Food Markets and Pro*Act to Speak at United Fresh 2014 Retail-Foodservice Super Session

What effect is “local produce” having on produce marketing? In today¹s marketplace, local produce is prominently featured on grocery shelves and chefs are proudly touting it on their menus. That’s the topic for United’s Retail-Foodservice Super Session, Beyond the Buzz: Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of 'Local,' slated for Thursday, June 12 from 9am -10am at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago. The session looks at what defines 'local' produce and how this trend may impact future produce marketing.

On the session panel, FreshDirect Co-Founder David McInerney, Wegmans Manager of Food Safety Bill Pool and Pro*Act Supply Chain Manager Kathleen Phillips will address the local movement at retail and foodservice.

Jeff Oberman, vice president of trade relations for United Fresh, said the session will “provide insight and lively discussion about the complexities of buying, selling and marketing local produce and the implications for your business from industry leaders representing unique business models within retail and foodservice operations.”

More information on United Fresh 2014 can be found at where you can get the latest updates on speakers, networking events and details on how to register for the upcoming convention.


New Time! Joint United Fresh/FMI General Session Moves to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10

The Joint United Fresh/FMI General Session, featuring the Keynote Address delivered by Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been rescheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 10 at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. Doors to the theater will open at 4:30 p.m., so be sure to arrive early to get your seat.

Prior to the General Session, United and FMI will host a hospitality area with refreshments outside of the theater. Thanks to our sponsor Wonderful Brands.

Following the General Session, be sure to join us for United’s Celebrate Chicago Style Opening Night Party, 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m., North Promenade, Millennium Park.

Haven’t signed up yet? Good news – you've still got time to registerClick here to see the full detailed schedule of events.


See Who’s Attending United Fresh 2014 in Chicago

Do you know who’s coming to United Fresh 2014 next month? Make plans now to network and catch up with friends and colleagues from across the produce industry. Visit the United Fresh 2014 website, click on the Networking tab, then the 2014 Attendee List tab. The downloadable PDF is updated every week, so be sure to check back soon to see who else will join us  in Chicago.

Hurry to Win Your Free Dinner! 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! 

This week’s drawing features these great Chicago restaurants: Everest, L2O, and Smith & Wollensky.

Last week’s lucky winners were Stuart Holmes of Charlie’s Produce Company, Craig Arneson of Target Corporation and Michael Pember of Boatshed Market. Congratulations and bon appétit!

Every Friday 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. 

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!


Celebrate Industry Partnerships at United’s Wholesaler-Distributor & Independent Retailer Reception

Hosted by the United Fresh Wholesaler-Distributor board, this special reception at United Fresh 2014 will celebrate the partnerships between produce wholesalers and distributors and independent retail, bringing fresh produce to consumers every day. Catch up with colleagues from across the country, enjoy valuable networking time with current wholesale and produce distributor partners and make new connections in the produce sector.

For more information about this reception or to RSVP, please contact Sophie Drayton at 202-303-3413.


Explain the Myth vs. Reality about Agricultural Labor

A new toolkit document is now available on the website of the Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC) that examines the myths vs. realities of farm labor needs and immigration reform. The document looks at eight prominent misconceptions about agricultural labor and immigration reform, including farm wages, amnesty, mechanization and border security.

The document can be used as a reference for members as they discuss the need for immigration reform with policymakers and other audiences. United Fresh is a founding member of the AWC. For more information, please contact Robert Guenther at 202-303-3400.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Lee Loi Industries, Inc., Bronx, NY


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:

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