November 2013 NAPAR Homepage

ELMO JOINS THE FIGHT

The First Lady recently unveiled a new element in her “Let’s Move” campaign to get children to eat healthier foods, especially produce. She announced a joint effort with PMA, the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Elmo Workshop that allows produce growers to use stickers of Elmo and other Sesame characters free of charge for two years to promote eating produce to kids. The program is based on Cornell University research that shows that young children choose apples over cookies for snacks if the apple has an Elmo sticker on it. For the produce industry this could lead to a whole generation of committed produce eaters.

GRUMBLING OVER THE PRODUCE SAFETY RULE CONTINUES

Small, natural and organic produce farmers continue to express deep reservations about the impact of the produce safety rule even though many of them will be exempt because of their size. They have expressed fear that complying with the rule will increase their costs and drive them out of business. Joining them is NASDA the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, which has petitioned Congress for FDA to do more cost benefit studies of the rule's impact. Many in the produce industry are suggesting that FDA should rewrite its proposed rule and then solicit additional comments so it gets this important food safety rule right. Since FDA is operating under a court order to publish the final rule on a court established schedule, a second round of comments is unlikely.

SEE YOU IN NEW YORK?

NAPAR will once again be exhibiting at the New York Produce Show next month on December 11th. NAPAR's participation at the popular show provides us with an opportunity to convince other wholesalers to join NAPAR and to inform and educate attendees about the benefits of participating with NAPAR. NAPAR's President John Motley and his team from Policy Solutions will be on hand to staff NAPAR's booth along with several NAPAR Board Members. If you plan to attend the New York Produce Show, be sure to stop by the NAPAR booth to chat. We'd love to see you and catch up.

PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR

Please put the date for NAPAR's 2014 Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament on your calendar. It will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, New Jersey with a 9:00 AM shotgun start. As usual, there will be a full breakfast and lunch with lots of golf and raffle prizes. Additional information will be forthcoming early next year in NAPAR NOTES.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • A legal case to watch involves Jensen Farms of Granada, CO and a lawsuit it has filed against Primus Labs. Primus was responsible for the audit that gave Jensen Farms a “superior” rating in 2011 just before the cantaloupes grown on the farm were the cause of a Listeria outbreak that killed 30 people and sickened another 147. Jensen Farms has since filed for bankruptcy and it is suing Primus for damages. This high-profile case will surely set precedents in the area of food safety.

  • Check your transportation vehicles for cleanliness even though according to reports, the transportation link in the food chain is rarely the source of foodborne illness. Experts agree, however, that temperature controls and sanitation are the most likely potential sources of a food safety glitch in vehicles used to carry produce. Never assume your vehicles are in good working order. Regular check-ups are important to prevent disastrous glitches that can destroy your business.

  • A word to the wise: New research out of the University of Guelph in Ontario found that 64% of the reusable plastic containers used to ship fruit and vegetables in Canada were not sanitized well enough to prevent contamination. The Canadian Corrugated Containerboard Association said that many containers are rented by farmers to ship their produce and then returned to the U.S. for cleaning.

  • Produce News recently wrote a major story about NAPAR member Edward G. Rahll and Sons and their continued business focus on locally grown produce. The business is located at the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, Maryland. TJ Rahll, the third-generation family member to operate the company and a member of the NAPAR board of directors, said, “My grandfather, our company namesake, founded the business based on local produce, and despite our growth and expansion of sourcing from so many other areas throughout our history, we are still proud to say that we work with between 50-60- local farmers each year for all of our seasonal supplies.” In the article, TJ also stressed the importance of constantly working on food-safety initiatives in the business.

  • Food hub is a buzzword among people involved in sustainable agriculture, as well as efforts to increase access to healthy food and programs to reduce hunger in the U.S. But a new study from Michigan State University and the Wallace Center at Winrock International in Arlington, Va. Shows that food hubs can also be successful businesses with a commitment to bettering the communities they served. Food hubs may seem like farmers markets but they are aimed at helping producers gain a much larger market share.

  • Changes in school nutrition standards continue to translate into big opportunities for produce marketers. The emphasis upon eating healthier foods stems from efforts at the White House and USDA to convince schools to change their meals programs for the better. This trend is expected to continue strongly, especially since it has the support of the Michelle Obama.

 

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