November 20, 2014
In Today's Issue:
West Coast Port Slowdown Impacts Fresh Produce Industry


United Fresh and numerous business allies are continuing to raise concerns with policymakers about the West Coast port work slowdown that is causing significant shipping delays and losses for fruit and vegetable members.  Since the beginning of the port slow down, United Fresh has joined with other groups to send letters to the President on November 6 and November 17 encouraging him to engage in resolving this issue a quickly as possible.  In addition, United Fresh has been in contact with congressional members to encourage their engagement to resolve this issue. “We are all frustrated with the lack of a resolution to this problem during a critical time of the shipping season for many fruit and vegetable commodities,” said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy.  “As we have seen with last year’s East and Gulf port coast negotiations, we need to have the President act through the federal mediator process to resolve these differences.

 

United Fresh Proposes Simpler Ag Water and Farm/Facility Requirements at FDA Public Meeting

At the FDA November 13 public meeting in College Park, MD, United’s Dr. David Gombas called on the agency to modify its proposed water testing requirement the proposal is “overly complicated and will not make water sources nor produce safer.”  Based on comments developed by United Fresh working groups, Dr. Gombas told FDA that the newly proposed pre-harvest and post-harvest intervals that allow for “die-off” of bacteria are a positive step, giving growers something they can do rather than be at the mercy of water test results.  However, a revised requirement to test open water sources 20 times in two years, and calculating a Statistical Threshold Value in addition to annual Geometric Means is still unnecessarily burdensome.  Gombas reiterated United’s earlier comments to FDA that these testing requirements should be published in a Guidance document that can be updated as science improves.
 
Gombas also urged FDA to affirm that facilities that only hold or pack fruits and vegetables be allowed to comply with the Produce Safety rule, rather than be regulated in the same manner as processing facilities under the Preventive Controls rule.

The Supplementary Proposals remain open for comment until December 15.  For more information, contact Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3411 or dgombas@unitedfresh.org.

 

FDA Updates Guidance on Food Facility Registration


This week, FDA updated its Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration with new information about registration requirements for certain “farm mixed-type facilities”.  Farms are exempt from FDA’s registration requirement, but the current definition of farm does not include farms that also pack or hold raw agricultural commodities grown on a farm under different ownership, so such operations are required to register. 

With changes being proposed to the definition of the term “farm,” FDA does not intend to prioritize enforcing the registration requirement for such establishments.  FDA intends to make further updates to this guidance when the relevant rules are finalized in 2015.  This does not change the requirement for facilities that are not farms and that pack or hold raw agricultural commodities to re-register with FDA by end of 2014. If you have any questions regarding FDA’s facility registration requirements, contact Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3411 or dgombas@unitedfresh.org.

 

United Fresh Retains Expert Floral Strategist Cindy Hanauer to Help Lead New Floral Membership Programs


United Fresh has appointed floral industry veteran Cindy Hanauer to work with the association as an expert strategist in developing programs and services to support members across the floral supply chain. Hanauer has held key positions in the mass market floral business during her 40-year career, working for leading supermarket floral retailers including The Kroger Company and Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., as well as online retailer 1-800-Flowers.  She is currently the founder and owner of Grand Central Floral, a web-based platform for the education, communication, inspiration and training for all channels of the floral industry. 

“I’m thrilled to have such a respected floral industry leader as Cindy to share her expertise as we launch our new member services for the floral sector,” said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel.  “Our new partnership with the International Floriculture Exposition (IFE) at our show in Chicago jumpstarts the resources that we can provide for our members in the floral sector, and Cindy’s expert guidance will now provide a deeper level of value to our mass market floral retail members and their many suppliers across the industry.”

The new Floral Advisory Board will be appointed later this fall, and hold its first meeting at the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum in La Quinta, CA, January 13-15. Members who are interested in serving on the initial Floral Advisory Board are invited to contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410 or mwolk@unitedfresh.org.

 

Minnesota Salad Bar Leaders Visit Minneapolis Public Schools


Last week, the United Fresh Start Foundation arranged for our Minnesota salad bar co-chairs, Jason Craig, government affairs manager, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, and Phillip and Nina Brooks, H. Brooks and Company, to visit several Minneapolis schools, and see how fresh fruits and vegetables are being included students’ lunch trays.  

Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis school district director of culinary and nutrition services, showed how students are provided access to fresh produce in elementary, middle and high schools.  Minneapolis Public Schools has a robust Farm to School program, 19 schools with the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) and salad bars in more than 30 schools, with more salad bars still needed.  This school district’s commitment to serving a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is apparent in everything they do.

Weber attended United Fresh 2014 in Chicago as part of the United Fresh Start Foundation’s school foodservice program.  Weber also presented a workshop titled, “Opportunities to Drive Produce Sales to Schools”, which took place in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center on the show floor, and is now available on-line here.

For more information, contact Andrew Marshall at (202) 303-3407, amarshall@unitedfresh.org.


Headed to Fruit Logistica?  Reserve Your Room in the United Fresh Block


Planning to attend Fruit Logistica 2015?  United Fresh has again reserved a block of rooms at the Berlin Marriott.  To reserve your room in our block, click here.  Space is limited, so we encourage you to make your reservations today!  While in Berlin, we encourage you to visit the United Fresh Stand (Hall 6.2, Stand C-06) to learn more about our programs for the global produce industry, including United Fresh 2015 in Chicago.  You are also invited to join United members and friends at the United stand for the United Fresh Global Reception on Wednesday, February 4 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  For more information about United’s activities at Fruit Logistica, visit the United Fresh website or contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410 or mwolk@unitedfresh.org.


New Member Welcome

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

  • A-Roo Company, Strongsville, OH
  • Armellini Express Lines, Inc., Palm City, FL
  • Bayview Flowers, Ontario, Canada
  • Burris Logistics, Milford, DE
  • Dependable Packaging Solutions, Miami, FL
  • Green Circle Growers, Oberlin, OH
  • Kaiser International, LLC, Highland Park, IL
  • Microsearch Laboratory, Grand Junction, CO
  • Landsberg, Buena Park, CA
  • ProSource, Inc. Hailey, ID

 

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.

 

Thank You Chairman’s Roundtable 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 to the 2015 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Four Seasons Family of Companies
  • Horton Fruit Company
  • JAB Produce/Jack Keller Co.
  • Lakeside Produce Distribution Co.
  • Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
  • Trinity Fruit Sales
  • Windset Farms

 

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 Events & Programs

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Midwinter Leadership Forum
Jan 13-15, 2015, La Quinta Resort & Club, La Quinta, CA

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jan 26-30, 2015, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh Special Activities at Fruit Logistica
February 4-6, 2015, Berlin Germany

2015 Produce Executive Development Program
Mar 8-13, 2015, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jun 1-5, 2015, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh 2015
Jun 8-10, 2015, McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago, IL  

 



 
 
 


 

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