WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the creation of a permanent Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, charging the panel with helping the agency examine the "full spectrum of issues faced by the fruit and vegetable industry," and provide the USDA with ideas on "how the USDA can tailor its programs" to meet industry needs.
t. 20, according to the notice published in the Federal Register.
"This is a huge development for our industry," said Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Alexandria, Va., which has pushed for the establishment of such a board.
The committee creates a forum that will "enable the produce industry to offer input on a host of USDA programs that have a direct impact on it," he added.
Prior to this, similar committees were formed on an interim basis, most recently as part of the government response to the Hunt's Point terminal market scandal in New York, which resulted in indictments of federal inspectors and vendors. Other panels were formed to look at inspection guidelines and related issues, according to officials.