Cathie McCullough, director of the food distribution division of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and Ron Ulibarri, acting branch chief of the AMS commodity procurement branch, reviewed commodity procurement activities, including the first purchase of baby peeled carrots for school feeding programs.
Committee member Lisa McNeece, vice president of foodservice and industrial sales for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms, said she was happy to see the agency is purchasing baby peeled carrots in the wake of fresh-cut apples buys. The agency is expected to announce successful bids of carrots April 2.
“We will crawl before we walk, but I’m excited,” she said.
Lucas Knowles, special assistant to the office of the undersecretary, described the activities of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Meanwhile, Chuck Parrott, associate deputy administrator of USDA AMS fruit and vegetable programs and Loren LaCore, program analyst for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, described the agency’s farm-to-school initiative.
Leanne Skelton, a USDA senior policy analyst on loan since last year to the Food and Drug Administration, described her work with the joint USDA/FDA food safety initiative. Jeff Farrar, associate commissioner for foods with the FDA and Jim Gorny, senior advisor for produce safety in the FDA’s Office of Food Safety, also updated the committee on pending produce safety regulations from the agency.
Agenda items planned for the committee on March 31 include comments about traceability and good agricultural practices harmonization from Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C.