May 2014 NAPAR Homepage

NAPAR'S SIGNATURE GOLF TOURNAMENT

In just a few weeks, the NAPAR Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament will be held and if you have not signed up, it is not too late. You can register on-line at: www.napargolf.com. The event is slated for Saturday, May 17th at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

The day starts with a full breakfast at 7:30 followed by a shotgun start at 9. After a round of golf, there is an awards lunch with lots of food, tremendous raffle prizes, including a top prize of $3,000 in cash, and a great opportunity to continue to network with produce buyers, brokers, wholesalers, and other produce industry VIPs.

If you have any questions, call us at (202) 360-4949. This is NAPAR's major fund-raising event of the year and your support is always greatly appreciated!

BOARD MEETING

If you are a NAPAR board member, remember that there will be a board meeting prior to the golf outing. The board meeting will take place on Friday, May 16th from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Somerset, New Jersey, which is near Royce Brook Golf Club. There will be a dinner following the board meeting. If you have not RSVPed for the board meeting and dinner, please contact NAPAR President John Motley at (202) 360-4949.

SAFE FOOD HANDLING AND THE FOOD CODE

Late last month, the FDA launched its new Food Code Reference System - a searchable database that provides information to users of the Food Code. State and local agencies use FDA's model food code to make their food safety rules more consistent with national food regulatory policy. The database answers questions about storing foods that require temperature control to maintain safety, bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods and proper hand hygiene. You can never know too much about proper food handling techniques.

FSMA QUICK UPDATE

Expect to soon have for your reading pleasure a new federal document that provides a framework for discussion after the FSMA rules are finalized. At the recent Food Safety Summit held in Baltimore, FDA’s Mike Taylor, the out-front person on FSMA, commented that the agency will soon release a document that will provide lots of important information on training and other information for complying with the law. “Broadly they are a set of teaching directions and principles that have been guiding our internal work as we prepare to implement FSMA,” Taylor was quoted as saying. By now, all NAPAR members should have a point person to oversee FSMA. If you have questions pertaining to FSMA, call John Motley at NAPAR’s Washington office.

Since this article was first written FDA has published its FSMA Strategic Guidance document.  You can access it by using this link.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

Produce industry folks are getting so frustrated over Congressional inaction on immigration reform that they may be rethinking plans to contribute to Republican election campaigns. Ag groups are starting to loudly criticize the House Republicans for not moving on immigration reform at a time when the opportunity for legislation appears to be slipping away. Earlier this year, groups said they were hoping by this summer to get a bill on the House floor after last year's elections spurred hope the House would take up the issues. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in a bipartisan vote last year, but momentum in the House has stalled.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has again placed apples atop its “Dirty Dozen” list because the USDA has found diphenylamine, or DPA, residue on over 80% of the apples it tested. DPA is used as a preservative in cold storage. USDA has found the DPA residues well within its allowable limits, but the chemical was banned by the European Commission in 2012 over safety concerns.

  • In a move designed to avoid consumer confusion, the Opal apple will carry Non-GMO labelling to set it apart from a non-browning apple being considered for approval by USDA. The GMO Arctic apple is not available and has not been approved for sale, but FirstFruits Marketing of Washington state, sought the Non-GMO project Verified certification to ensure consumers know the Opal's slow-browning characteristic is natural.

  • Sesame Street and the Produce Marketing Association are poised to help America’s children and millennial families eat brighter! Just recently, a new tool kit for guiding the royalty-free use of “Sesame Street” characters has been made available and produce promotions are expected to begin this summer with the back-to-school season. The Sesame Street campaign will not exclude any fresh produce commodities. The goal is to prime the pump of fresh fruit and vegetable demand. The deal is a two-year agreement between PMA and Sesame Workshop, in effect through the end of 2016, and allows produce growers, suppliers and retailers to use the Sesame Street characters and brand without a licensing fee.

  • The USDA is moving ahead with a new pilot program to test the impact of opening up the popular school fruit and vegetable program to canned, frozen or dried fruits and vegetables. United Fresh Produce lobbied against tinkering with the successful program aimed at improving childhood nutrition with fresh produce offerings. Schools selected to participate in USDA's Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program are reimbursed for providing free fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day.

  • Another report has been published stating that consumers have been paying lots more for organic foods based on the erroneous belief, promulgated by stakeholders with a vested interest, that they are healthier and safer than their conventional counterparts. While consumers buy organics for lots of reasons, the key erroneous driver is that organic foods are healthier. The latest report, which has been strongly criticized by the organic food lobby, is based on a view of over 200 published academic, industry and government research reports into why consumers buy organic foods. U.S. retail sales of organics have more than tripled since 2003, reaching $29 billion in 2013, or more than 4 percent of grocery spending. This debate is sure to continue so long as organic producers and retailers see an advantage in describing their product as healthier.

  • Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces the risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, report a new University College London study. This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all causes, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruits and vegetable with the most benefit.

For more information about NAPAR, Membership, the Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament, or this Newsletter contact
John Motley at jmotley@policy-solutions.net

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North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 501 | Washington, DC 20004 | Tel: (202) 360-4949 | Fax: (866) 900-6099