David Krause brings his year as chairman of the United Fresh Produce Association to a close with the trade group hammering out its response to big regulatory and legislative challenges — the Food Safety Modernization Act and immigration reform.
“The beginning of my term was a little tough with the ending of the merger discussions (with the Produce Marketing Association), and we really wanted to get back to what was important for United and its members,” said Krause, president of Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus Association Inc.
“This is what United’s all about, leading the charge on the two big issues that have been brewing this year,” he said March 28.
“We’re doing a tremendous amount of educational work, reviewing all the law and the provisions and preparing for public comment on FSMA.”
Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., said Krause plunged into the food safety regulatory challenge.
“David in his role as chairman set up a couple of working groups six months ago that were going to look at the rules when they were published,” Stenzel said.
“Since then they’ve had three face to face meetings and 10 different conference call Web seminars, going through more than 1,000 pages of these regulations.”
In April, United Fresh was beginning to write public comments on the Food Safety Modernization Act.
“It’s really impressive to see how the membership has come together to really provide their expertise and input on how the rules would affect the industry,” Stenzel said.
Paramount Citrus Association was the first stop on Stenzel’s Fresh Impact Tour of California March 13-26. As the host of a luncheon meeting for agricultural companies and service providers, Krause saw how big an issue labor is for California growers.
“The No. 1 topic of interest was immigration,” Krause said. “The meeting was a real call to arms to get involved and participate in the San Diego convention.”
He’s been making — and answering — calls to arms for a while now.
“When you get involved in United, you get to see outside of your own little industry and you start to see the whole breadth of fresh produce,” Krause said.
“Our issues are so much the same. You get involved because you believe in the industry. The passion of United directors and members speaks for itself.”