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The Pundit Parade of Presentations

Here at the Pundit, we’ve been pleased that the analysis we have offered of many issues has been sufficiently compelling to lead us to work with several investment banks to help enhance the quality of their research efforts.

Typically we do this behind the scenes and let them get the credit. However, every once in a while, we get to share what we are doing with those readers interested in the stock market. For example, we have been invited to work with Citigroup Global Markets Limited, and we will be the featured guest in a global conference call focused on Tesco’s new Fresh & Easy format and, more broadly, Tesco’s entry into America.

Here is the invitation that Citigroup sent out:

Citi European Food Retail Team Conference Call

The Citi European Food Retail Team invites you to participate in a conference call — on Wednesday, 20 February at 4pm (GMT) — to discuss the progress of Tesco’s new US grocery chain, Fresh & Easy.

Our special guest will be Jim Prevor — otherwise known as the ‘Perishable Pundit’ — who will be taking us through his impressions of Fresh & Easy as a consumer and as an industry insider. He has some firm views on what is working well and what does not seem to be working so far . . . There will be an opportunity for Q&A.

For those of you not acquainted with Jim — recently described by the Sunday Telegraph as “one of America’s most influential commentators on the grocery market” — you should check out his website at

If you click on the following link you will see over 50 articles he has written on various topics related to “Tesco comes to America” —

Jim’s extensive industry experience is summarised at:

Please join us for what is sure to be a fascinating discussion — Fresh & Easy is likely to continue to be one of the key news stories in the sector for 2008.

We are not publishing the call-in numbers because capacity is limited, but it is an open call and if you are an investor looking to learn more and feel you would like to listen in, simply e-mail us here and we’ll confirm availability and e-mail you back with the call-in numbers if there is availability.

Of course, if you have a few idle million dollars at some division of Citigroup, you can always get the info from your Citigroup contact.

For regular Pundit readers don’t expect any shocking surprises; we’ve been keying you in on such valuable intelligence in every issue. If you can’t or prefer not to make the call, you can read what we think about Tesco’s new venture in America right here.

Note the call is at 4:00 pm Greenwich Mean Time. That is 11:00 am in New York and 8:00 am in Salinas. For our readers in Sydney, Australia, that works out to 3:00 am on the following day. The good news: The conference call will also be available as an encore replay for a limited time.

Cornell University  United Fresh Produce Association

United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program
At Cornell University

As we mentioned in our piece, Cornell, March 9-14, 2008… An Exceptional Experience Awaits, we’ve had the privilege to serve on the faculty of the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program — developed in partnership with Cornell University — since its inception. It is a stupendous program, developed under the auspices Ed McLaughlin, the Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing at Cornell and a great gift given to the industry by United Fresh.

The program is strictly limited to 40 people to allow for the individualized and interactive instruction as well as to facilitate peer-to-peer networking.

The program quickly sold out as word of mouth from last year’s program led to a recognition that a week-long time out from our hectic industry — in which one focuses not merely on what is urgent, but on what is important — is often just what is required to break the chains of habit and move our organizations to the next level.

The Pundit’s annual role on the faculty is to address Critical Industry Issues — last year we focused on food safety; this year we will broaden that task to look at the strategic imperative associated with sustainability and social responsibility.

The program is sold out but there is a wait list. Get your name on the list, keep a bag packed and hope United calls. It would be your lucky day. Let United know you want on the wait list here.

Seattle University Law

Seattle University School of Law

The Pundit’s participation in the professoriate will continue on a different level when we head up to Seattle University School of Law to participate in Who’s Minding the Store — The Current State of Food Safety and How It Can Be Improved

Few subjects draw more immediate attention or concern than the safety of the food we eat. Recent years have included a plethora of food warnings and recalls, raising new questions about the quality and integrity of our existing system for assuring food safety. Seattle was the epicenter of the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak that sickened 600 and killed four 15 years ago. In addition to explaining how our present system works, this program is intended to discuss how changing consumer preferences are affecting the development and distribution of food, examine whether Federal, state and industry oversight roles are changing, and discuss how the regulatory and judicial processes can be most efficiently balanced. Participants include international, national and local representatives of government, the food industry, consumer organizations and scientists.

We have plenty of attorneys reading the Pundit every day. Some are PACA attorneys, many are general counsels for larger firms and some just intersect with the industry through clients. Whatever your role, you can pick up 9.25 General Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, of which 1.0 may be applied to ethics.

The conference is sponsored by Seattle University School of Law Office of Continuing Legal Education, and the program is a real “insiders guide” to the issue of food safety as it was organized and sponsored by William D. Marler, Marler Clark LLP PS, and Kenneth M. Odza, Stoel Rives LLP.

It has an all star line-up of speakers:


Welcome and Introduction of Opening Speaker 8:30-9:15 a.m.

  • Dean Kellye Testy, Dean of Seattle University School of Law — Introduction
  • David Acheson, MD, Assistant FDA Commissioner for Food Safety, Washington, DC — Opening Speaker

Session 1: 9:15 — 10:45 a.m.
Defining the Problem — How the concerns about food safety are viewed by physicians, disease experts, state regulators, and consumers. What is the scope of the problem? Do the different aspects of food safety have opposing/competing perspectives on the issue? What is the good news and bad news for food safety today?

  • Barb Kowalcyk, Citizen Advocate, Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) Columbus, OH
  • Carlota Medus PhD, MPH, Epidemiologist, Acute Disease Investigation and control section, MN Dept of Health Minneapolis, MN
  • Richard Seigler, MD, University of Utah. Pediatric nephrologist Salt Lake City, UT
  • Tom Billy, Former head Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
  • Sandra McCurdy, Extension Food Safety Specialist in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Idaho

Session 2: 11:00 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.
How the Regulation of Food Safety Works — The roles and responsibilities as seen by Federal and State regulators, industry and consumers

How do the different food safety agencies function? Are there gaps? Are consumer practices affecting policy? What are the challenges and benefits of Federal and State agency consolidation? How has the response to Homeland security/bio-terrorism threats impacted food safety practices?

  • Bob Brackett PhD, Sr. Vice President and Chief Science and Regulatory Officer, Grocery Manufacturers Association Washington, DC
  • Mansour Samadapour, PhD, President, CEO of IEH Laboratories Seattle,WA
  • Christine Bruhn, Director, Center for Consumer Research Sacramento, CA
  • David Goldman, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Office of Public Health USDA
  • Bala Swaminathan PhD, Director Technical and Business Development IHRC, Inc. Conceived and implemented Pulsenet. Atlanta, GA

Lunch 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Governor Christine Gregoire — Luncheon Speaker
Seattle School of Law Gallery

Session 3: 1:45 — 3:15 p.m.
Zones of Responsibility: Grower/Producer; Seller; Government; Consumer
How does the system actually work in practice? Those on the front lines of regulation, production, industry and consumer safety discuss challenges and successes.

  • John Munsell, Manager, Foundation for Accountability in Regulatory Enforcement. Mile City, MT
  • Craig Wilson, Vice President, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Costco Wholesale Corporation. WA
  • Scott Rickman, Associate General Counsel, Del Monte Foods San Francisco, CA
  • Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director of Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Washington, DC
  • Andy Benson, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE
  • Devon Zagory, Interim Executive Director, Center for Produce Safety, UC Davis. Sacramento, CA

Session 4: 3:30 — 5:00 p.m.
Roles of the Civil/Criminal Justice Systems: Perspectives of plaintiffs, respondents, and prosecutors. An overview of law relating to product liability. How do you prove or defend a foodborne illness liability case? What about causation? What is the legal standard?

  • Sarah Brew, Attorney, JD, Greene Espel PLLP Minneapolis, MN
  • Neal Fortin, JD, Director, Institute for Food Laws and Regulations at Michigan State University. Lansing, MI
  • Al Maxwell, JD, Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial. Atlanta, GA
  • Denis Stearns, JD, Marler Clark LLP, PS Seattle, WA
  • Brad Sullivan, JD, Lombardo & Gilles, Salinas, CA

Reception for Speakers and Attendees: 5:00 -6:00 p.m.
Seattle School of Law

Dinner for Speakers 6:30 — 8:30 p.m.
Columbia Tower Club
Dinner Speaker, Dr. Richard Raymond, FSIS

8:30-9:00AM — Speaker to be determined

Session 5: 9:00 -10:30 a.m.
How is Food Protected Overseas? International Perspectives on food safety
Experts from the EU, UK, Australia/New Zealand, China and the World Health Organization discuss international food protection. How is food safety maintained as products travel through the global marketplace?

  • Chris Griffith, Director of Food Research and Consultancy, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • Deon Mahoney, Food Standards, Australia and New Zealand Canberra, BC, Australia
  • Canice Nolan, First Counselor, Head of Food Safety, Health, and Consumer Affairs, European Commission Delegation Washington, DC
  • Jørgen Schlundt, Director, Dept of Food Safety, Zoonoses, and Foodborne Illness, World Health Organization — Geneva, Switzerland
  • Ge Zhirong, Vice Minister AQSIQ (General Administration of quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine) for the People’s Republic of China — Beijing, China

Session 6: 10:45 a.m. — 12:15 p.m.
Role of the Media in Public Health and Food Safety: The contributions of media and science writers to Food Safety. How do reporters get the story, and get it right, in the middle of media frenzy? How do they get the information they need to inform and protect the public? What is the role of the media in disseminating public health information?

  • Phil Brasher, Agribusiness correspondent, Des Moines Register. Washington, DC
  • Steve Hedges, Food Reporter, Chicago Tribune Washington, DC
  • Doug Powell, Associate Professor, Kansas State University. Scientific Director, International Food Safety Network Manhattan, KS
  • Jim Prevor,
  • Andy Martin, Food Industry Reporter, New York Times

12:15 — 1:30 p.m. Lunch and Closing Remarks — John M. Kobayashi, former Chief Epidemiologist, Washington State.

All in all it is a great way for an attorney involved in the industry to really be up to date on the dynamics surrounding the food safety issue. Any Pundit readers who are going to be attending, please drop us an e-mail. We would welcome the chance to touch base.

You can register for this terrific program right here.

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