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UFFVA, NRA Form Supply Chain Partnership

WASHINGTON - Officials of the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (United) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) have formed a joint initiative to help the produce and restaurant industries work together to enhance quality assurance for fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the supply chain from field to table.

Designed to foster new opportunities for educational and other mutually beneficial programming, the United/NRA partnership will launch with a co-hosted, one-day seminar during the NRA’s Fall 2005 Quality Assurance Executive Study Group meeting, which will address issues important to both industries.

Topics of discussion will include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recently unveiled Produce Food Safety Action Plan, Good Agricultural Practices, and best practices for supply chain safe handling of produce.

“Food safety is a top priority for both industries, and it’s critical that all sectors of the restaurant supply chain for fresh produce work together as closely as possible,” said Tom Stenzel, United president and c.e.o. “United’s partnership with the National Restaurant Association presents a tremendous opportunity for our respective industries to work together in addressing critical food safety issues and better serve our millions of consumers.”

United anticipates that the enhanced relationship with NRA will lead to a variety of new, collaborative programs, including farm tours and educational sessions, as well as joint efforts to facilitate the success of fresh produce throughout the restaurant industry.

“High quality and safe, fresh produce is at the foundation of meeting customer demands in the restaurant industry today,” said Steven C. Anderson, NRA’s president and c.e.o. “This is a great opportunity for restaurant and foodservice quality assurance professionals to learn from the produce experts first hand.”

The day-long seminar and roundtable discussions will culminate with a series of field tours during which participants will interact with growers and see first-hand production agriculture at its best. Attendance at the meeting will be limited to executives and quality assurance leaders from the produce and restaurant industries. Registration is scheduled to begin in summer 2005.
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