Kraig R. Naasz, president and ceo of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), on September 21 expressed support for bipartisan legislation introduced in the United States House of Representatives that will enable elementary schools across the nation to serve students a full range of fruit and vegetable snacks.
Put forward by Reps. Bruce Poliquin (Republican of Maine) and Kurt Schrader (Democrat of Oregon), the “Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act” (H.R. 3532) expands the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fruit and Vegetable Program to allow schools to serve all forms of fruit and vegetables as snacks, including frozen products. Currently the program restricts schools to serving only raw produce.
“AFFI commends Reps. Poliquin and Schrader for leading efforts to expand USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Program, which will help enhance childhood nutrition and promote healthy eating habits. This expansion will give schools year-round access to the widest possible variety of healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables in all forms, including frozen,” said Naasz.
He added: “As confirmed by Frozen Food Foundation-commissioned nutritional studies conducted by the Universities of Georgia and California-Davis, frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh-stored produce. Considering their nutritional content along with their availability, affordability and functionality, it’s easy to see why school nutritionists from across the country have been clamoring for the opportunity to offer frozen fruits and vegetables to the kids they serve.
“We look forward to working with school nutritionists and other stakeholders to ensure this expanded program is approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, which will help USDA meet its own Dietary Guidelines for Americans that encourage the consumption of frozen fruits and vegetables.”
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, AFFI is a national trade association engaged in promoting and representing the interests of all segments of the frozen food and beverage industry in the USA.