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  • Immigration Reform and the Farm Bill are both moving, however haltingly, on Capitol Hill. We will soon see if either–or both–of  these controversial measures has enough political momentum to advance beyond committee mark-ups to actual enactment.
  • Next week is the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual convention, held this year in San Diego. I plan to attend a Tuesday morning meeting of United’s Food Safety & Technology Council–prime topic, proposed rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act–and  then the convention, which officially opens that same evening with a reception aboard the USS Midway.
  • FDA has shored up its expertise in its produce safety area by bringing in Dr. Linda Harris of the University of California/Davis. Dr. Harris is on sabbatical from her academic post and is now working at FDA in Silver Spring, Maryland. I first came to know Dr. Harris from our joint work on the board of the Center for Produce Safety.
  • Julia Stewart, a friend of mine for many years, has been hired by the New York Apple Association as its new spokesperson. She has had previous stints of public relations service at both USApple and the Produce Marketing Association.
  • The special election to replace John Kerry as senator from Massachusetts will take place on June 25. Representative Ed Markey (D), who was first elected to Congress 37 years ago, faces off against a Republican, Gabriel Gomez, who is  new to elective politics. Should Mr. Gomez pull off an upset, we may have a new candidate for the Specialty Crop Caucus. The son of Columbian immigrants, he went to high school in Yakima, where his father worked as an executive with S.S. Steiner, an international hops company.