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    United Fresh's Board Sets 2013 Priorities

    Trade group also forms new councils to focus on biotechnology, other key issues

    The United Fresh Produce Association's board of directors has set its government relations priorities for 2013, focusing on four major areas: leadership on food safety law implementation, passing legislation to reform immigration policy and secure a new guest worker program, writing and passing the 2013 Farm Bill, and shaping nutrition policy and USDA regulations.

    These priorities were made during the group's annual winter leadership meetings, which brought together more than 250 industry leaders from the Food Safety & Technology Council, Nutrition & Health Council, Supply Chain Logistics Council, Center for Global Produce Sustainability Advisory Board, Member Relations Task Force, United Foundation Board, United’s four Market Segment Boards, and United’s Consolidated Board of Directors.

    United's board also announced the formation of two new expert advisory councils, which will bring together industry experts from across the supply chain to address important priorities for member companies. These are the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council, which will be led by Roger Pepperl, marketing director at Stemilt Growers; and the Finance & Business Management Council, which will be led by Scott Danner, COO of Liberty Fruit Co.

    United is now seeking member volunteers to serve on one of the two new councils. Interested members should contact Victoria Backer at [email protected] or 202-303-3408.

    Also during the winter meetings, the board approved the formation of a new biotechnology task force charged with helping the board understand industry views and set clear and transparent policy for the association. United’s ongoing policy related to production methods for fruits and vegetables is “technology neutral,” supporting the industry’s ability to use both conventional and organic production, as well as the use of any new technology such as genetically modified varieties that are approved by the government. However, issues surrounding potential labeling and marketing of biotech varieties require greater attention to help develop a clear and consistent approach.

    Meanwhile, Lorri Koster, CEO & chairman at Mann Packing Co., was named acting secretary-treasurer of United's board, replacing Joe Huston who left his role due to a change in business position.

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