LAS VEGAS, NV -- Leaders in the fields of school nutrition and food safety
kept the momentum of United Fresh 2010 going Wednesday, April 21. The
annual convention and expo of the United Fresh Produce Association featured
keynote addresses by officials from the New York City Department of
Education and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
At the show's breakfast general session, officials from New York City
SchoolFood, the office that oversees the city's school foodservice operations,
addressed the challenges and successes of feeding 1.1 million students each
school day in the nation's largest school district, as well as the importance of
school salad bars in that effort. Eric Goldstein, chief executive, and Jorge
Collazo, executive chef, underscored the importance of increased
consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables to the health and welfare of New
York City kids.
"Under the leadership of these two men, the largest school district in the
country has become a model for how effective salad bars can be at raising
consumption," United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition & Health Lorelei
DiSogra said in an April 22 press release. "Given how imperative it is for the
industry to unite behind the effort to increase consumption, their message
was both necessary and well received."
Another message that was well received by the industry at United Fresh 2010
came from first lady Michelle Obama, who sent a letter commending the
association's Salad Bar in Every School campaign and United's continued
efforts at improving child nutrition.
Later in the general session, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael
Taylor addressed the current progress on, and the continued need for,
comprehensive food safety legislation in The Future of Food Safety
Legislation & Produce Regulation. One of the higher food safety sources in
the federal government, Mr. Taylor outlined his vision for a workable food
safety system that respects the intricacies and unique traits of the industry.
"We need to be risk based, and we need to be scale appropriate. We've got to
target the significant hazards. We can't just go and set standards that we
don't believe will addressing the significant hazards and are improving food
safety," Mr. Taylor said in the release. "We need input from this association
and colleagues throughout the industry to help us figure out in practice to
say that we'll have rules that are scale appropriate."
In addition to the general sessions, the trade show floor at United Fresh 2010
officially opened just before noon, sending thousands of show attendees
through the aisles at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, here. Alongside
the exhibits, attendees flocked to jam-packed Learning Centers hosted by
the United's Fresh-Cut Processor, Wholesaler-Distributor, Grower-Shipper
and Retail-Foodservice Market Segment boards, as well as Demonstration
Centers focusing on both traceability and food safety.
Also on the show floor, the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation, in
collaboration with the Vollrath Co. and the Cambro Manufacturing Co.,
donated salad bars to two schools in Pahrump, NV, as part of the foundation's
Salad Bar in Every School campaign, a philanthropic produce industry
initiative to donate salad bars to schools to increase children's fruit and
vegetable consumption. On hand for the event were officials from Nye County
School District, Nevada Department of Education, United Fresh and other
produce industry leaders.
The day was capped off with United's reception honoring women in produce,
an annual gathering that recognizes the many contributions of women to the
produce industry. Lorri Koster, chairman of Salinas, CA-based Mann Packing
Co., was the featured speaker at this year's reception.