June 2013 NAPAR Homepage

Good Delivery Standard for Lettuce

For well over a half a century grower/shippers and receivers have been arguing over “good delivery standards” for lettuce. The discussion became so heated that in 1961 USDA adopted the only “good delivery standard” in statute for lettuce. The standard allows for a total of 15% damage by condition defects on delivery with not more than 9% serious damage of which not more than 5% can be decay. Condition defects included bruising and discoloration due to bruising. In May 1976 the Central California Lettuce Co-op voted to unilaterally exclude bruising and discoloration following bruising from the good delivery standard. Since then, even though the Co-op doesn’t exist anymore, a disclaimer exempting bruising and discoloration due to bruising appears on the invoice for every load of lettuce shipped.

To NAPAR’s knowledge no member or receiver of lettuce has ever agreed to this exclusion in advance of receiving the shipment, violating, we believe, the current “good delivery standard” in statute. NAPAR members have met several times in recent years with AMS at USDA to complain about this grower/shipper practice and asked it to enforce the “good delivery standard” as written. To date AMS has refused to enforce the law because it believes that the long standing disclaimer constitutes an agreement between the grower/shipper and the receiver, because the receiver has accepted the shipment of lettuce.

Last year during the writing of the Farm Bill NAPAR appealed to Senator Casey (D-PA) for help. The Senator was unsuccessful in his attempts to get his colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to address the problem, but he hasn’t given up. Recently, he and Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack urging him “to prohibit unilateral grower/shipper generated exemptions to the good delivery standard for lettuce in PACA.” He is also trying to get language urging USDA to enforce the standard as written in the Report that will accompany this year’s Farm Bill. Whether this issue has been a problem for you or not, every NAPAR member owes Senator Casey and Senator Gillibrand a thank you for their efforts to end this unfair and unlawful practice.

You can reach them by simply writing to them at United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510 or by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202 224 3121 and asking for their offices. Or you can email them at casey.senate.gov and gillibrand.senate.gov.

NAPAR's Annual Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament

If you were one of the attendees at the recent NAPAR Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, New Jersey on May 18th, we are confident that you had a great time! Despite a brief, light shower, the weather cooperated as nearly 100 golfers participated in the annual event. Many participants walked away with fabulous door prizes which included over $4,000 in cash, flat-screen color televisions, free golf lessons, golf bags, as well as assortment of electronic devices, including iPads and Amazon Kindles. NAPAR will be back at Royce Brook next May 17th - so take a moment and mark your calendars -for another fun day of networking and golf at our annual signature event. A portion of the proceeds generated by the annual Pete Class classic is donated to local charities that feed the hungry.

Golf Awards went to:

First Place Gross - Doug Hammel, Rob Kajewski, Jerry Pucci, Greg Tobias
Second Place Gross - Mike Walsh, M.Bojarski, Bob Holdstein, Bob Goodwin
Third Place Gross - Todd THompson, Mario Barone, Rich Crosby, Ralph Coccio

First Place Net - Paul Lee, Ho Lee, Sam Han, Duck Shin
Second Place Net - John Lundblad, Mike Coppola, Nick Abbatemarco, Dan Metta
Third Place Net - Kevin Bartolotta, Dana Foster, Paul K, Mike Ernest

Senior Longest Drive - Jay Rosenstein
Men's Long Drive - Mike Coppola
Men's Closest to the Pin #3 - Frank Bisanzio
Men's Closest to the Pin #8 - Mike Coppola
Men's Closest to the Pin #15 - Doug Hamel

Click here to see all of this year's photos.

NAPAR Board Meets

The NAPAR Board of Directors met the day before the annual Pete Class Memorial Golf Tournament to discuss a variety of issues important to produce receivers (see the above story on the “good delivery standard” for lettuce). Officers in attendance were: Chairman Joe Procacci, First Vice Chairman Derrick Jenkins, Second Vice Chairman Jay Rosenstein, John Vena and Norman Vitrano along with NAPAR President John Motley, as well as other guests. In addition to discussing legislative issues, the board approved continuing NAPAR’s participation at the New York Produce Show slated for December 10 and 11th, 2013 as well as developing outreach efforts to build NAPAR’s membership. The next board meeting will be held on December 9th in New York City prior to the New York Produce Show.

Court Extends FSMA Deadline

In a court ruling just two weeks ago, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the Oakland U.S. District Court said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) now have until June 10, 2013 to formulate a schedule for releasing the yet-unpublished food safety rules which were mandated by the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). CFS had sued FDA in August of last year after FDA missed several deadlines for publishing the regulations mandated by FSMA. There are still other rules, including the import safety rule, languishing at the White House Office of Management and Budget. NAPAR will continue to keep you informed as the new rules are released.

Please remember that NAPAR has contracted with Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions to develop a Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls compliance template to help you create the written food safety plan required by FSMA. Contact NAPAR for more information

Quick News You Can Use

  • Organics – The U.S. organic industry continues to grow according to industry sources. To spur further organic growth, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has promised to increase coverage options for organic producers under the federal crop insurance program and remove a 5 percent organic rate surcharge on future crop insurance policies, beginning next year. The Secretary also said that he will be giving all USDA agencies new directives to take into account concerning the documentation and inspection required for organic certification for eligibility for the department's programs and policies.

  • Produce Imports In Trouble? – Back-ups at U.S. ports and the Mexican border are throwing a big wrench in the works to get imported produce to market. The reasons stem anywhere from government red tape to labor shortages. Delays will likely continue to be just another problem to deal with, especially as FMSA rolls out new rules which require tougher inspections at points of entry into the U.S.

  • Farm Bill – it appears that the farm bill is finally moving through Congress. The Senate will pass its bill soon after it returns from the Memorial Day recess and the House is scheduled to take up its version in mid to late June, followed by a conference to work out the differences between the two bills. All of this is anticipated to be accomplished before September 30, when the current extension of the 2008 farm bill is scheduled to expire. The important highlights of the bill include: elimination or consolidation of more than 100 programs; elimination of direct payments which farmers receive regardless of market conditions; and additional investments in fruit and vegetable production, farmer's markets, and local food systems.

  • Sequestration – Rumors and fears of proposed reductions to food safety inspections in fresh produce facilities and other operations because of mandated budget cuts will be much less than anticipated. The FDA has found alternative ways to cut expenses without sacrificing food safety inspections. At the same time, in a report to Congress last week the FDA said that it would need between $400 and $450 million dollars in additional funding between now and 2017 to fully and effectively implement FSMA. The 2014 Administration budget proposes new inspection and import fees to fill this budget shortfall.

  • USDA Free Seminars – USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Fruit and Vegetable Program is inviting produce growers, packers and shippers to participate in free webinars. This month, on June 27, there is a seminar entitled “How to Sell Fruits and Vegetables to USDA” and in August, there is another webinar entitled “The PACA Complaint Process”. For more information call USDA’s Christopher Purdy at (202) 720-3209.

Related News

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

Return to top

North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 501 | Washington, DC 20004 | Tel: (202) 220-3531 | Fax: (866) 900-6099