Sep 8, 2014
Fruit, vegetable advisory group to meet

USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee will meet Sept. 29-30 in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 30.

“With over $40 billion in sales, the fruit and vegetable industry is essential to communities all over the country,” said Anne Alonzo, administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which oversees the committee. “We are eager to hear from the diverse and distinguished group of committee members about how USDA can continue to support this important sector.

“In the past, members of this committee have worked together to advise USDA on critical issues facing the produce industry, making it a valuable tool for all of our stakeholders,” she said. “The committee has talked about a range of topics, including how producers can use Specialty Crops Inspection Division auditing services to market the quality of their products or how the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act program can ensure that producers are treated fairly,” Alonzo said.

Committee members will select a chair and vice chair and discuss a range of issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry before making policy recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Members represent a cross-section of the industry, including fruit and vegetable growers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, processors, foodservice suppliers, brokers, state departments of agriculture, organic producers and marketers, and farmers markets and food hubs.

USDA established the committee in 2001 to examine issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry and to provide suggestions and ideas to the secretary on how the department can tailor its programs to meet the industry’s changing needs. To date, the committee has met 14 times and developed more than 60 statements and recommendations on issues ranging from food safety to USDA programs.

AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program Deputy Administrator Charles Parrott serves as the committee’s executive secretary.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.

For more information, call Marlene Betts, acting designated federal officer for the AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program, at 202-720-3334, or send her an email.

Additional information on the advisory committee is available here.

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