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Ruiz Sales, an Edinburg, TX-based importer and distributor of tropical items from Mexico, is running a special exculsive H.E.B. Super Bowl-themed promotion on limes at H.E.B. locations in Texas during the week leading up the the big game.

The promotion, which was scheduled to kick off the week of Jan. 28, will feature a three-pound bag of limes for $2.49. The bag carries a special proprietary lime LimeSuperBowlcharacter adorned with Super Bowl garb.

“H.E.B. approached us about doing this,” said Richard Ruiz, president of Ruiz Sales. “We have never done a Super Bowl promotion before, and this should help them move more limes.”

Regarding the rest of 2013, Mr. Ruiz renewed his call to the industry to step up food-safety and traceability efforts.

“It’s time for retailers to be truthful and provide safe produce for kids and moms, the customer, for a healthier America,” he said. “Retailers need to buy from reliable suppliers.”

He added that it costs money to implement proper food-safety and traceability programs, and while Ruiz is not the cheapest supplier, “people do not mind paying more money if they are getting a high-quality and safe product. And it is actually cheaper in the long run” to avoid recalls and preserve repeat business.

“Traceability should be mandatory and not voluntary,” he added. “It should have been done last year, but last year is gone. But 2013 is here, and it needs to be done now.”

Mr. Ruiz added that retailers also should implement better training at the store level in how to better handle and merchandise product, including point-of-purchase material that meets the customer’s demand for the nutritional facts of the products.

In other news, Mr. Ruiz said that Ruiz Sales has been recognized as a Role Model by the Produce for Better Health Foundation. This is the first time the company has received this designation, which is the top honor the foundation bestows upon a company or organization.

The foundation considers various criteria when selecting its Role Models. Among the criteria are placing the “Fruits & Vegetables – More Matters” logo on packaging, bins, poly bags and totes; linking to the website; speaking about Fruits & Veggies – More Matters during meetings and presentations; including Fruits & Veggies – More Matters messaging and logo in employee newsletters and health-focused programs, in advertising and public relations efforts, marketing and collateral materials, and in community outreach efforts; participating as a PBH Board of Trustee member; serving on the PBH executive committee, or board-level committees and task forces; and attending annual board meetings and dinner/auctions.

Mr. Ruiz said that while he is honored by the recognition, his main focus has always been — and remains — doing the best job for the industry’s ultimate customer — the consumer.

“In 2013, it is not about the grower or the packer or the retailer,” he said. “It’s not about the conventions or the meetings or the cocktail parties or the rounds of golf. It’s about the moms and kids at home eating a bag of fruit that is safe and flavorful and high quality. If we don’t get that right, we as an industry will never be successful.”

Ruiz Sales is a Hispanic family-owned, minority business enterprise and an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.