Frozen Fruit, Vegetable Snacks in US Schools Get OK

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has applauded final congressional approval of a new Farm Bill that expands a popular US Department of Agriculture (USDA) snack program to enable schools to serve frozen fruit and vegetable snacks.

The US Senate approved the Farm Bill on February 4 by a vote of 68-32, following passage by the US House of Representatives the week before. The bill expands USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to include a new one-year, $5 million pilot program that allows elementary schools in five states to test the efficacy of serving canned, dried and frozen fruits and vegetables as snacks to low-income school children during the 2014-15 school year.

Findings from the USDA-administered pilot program will enable Congress to consider the benefits of permanently expanding the USDA program to include all forms of fruits and vegetables – including frozen – during next year’s reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

“On behalf of US frozen fruit and vegetable producers, AFFI commends Congress for taking this important step towards establishing a new long-term initiative to improve childhood nutrition by providing schools with the opportunity to offer children the widest possible variety of healthy fruit and vegetable snacks, including frozen,” said Kraig R. Naasz, president and ceo of McLean, Virginia-headquartered AFFI.

“The results of a new, landmark study from the University of Georgia recently highlighted how frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh,” said Naasz, referring to a new Frozen Food Foundation-commissioned study.

“We encourage President Obama to sign this bipartisan nutrition legislation, and look forward to working with USDA and school nutritionists to implement this program and further promote healthy eating in schools,” concluded Naasz.