MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) today commended congressional leaders for advancing a new Farm Bill that enables elementary schools to serve frozen fruits and vegetables as part of a popular U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) snack program.
The Farm Bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 251-166, expands USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to include a new one-year, $5 million pilot program. The program enables 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 2014-2015 school year.
Findings from the USDA-administered pilot program will enable Congress to consider the merits of expanding the USDA program to permanently include all forms of fruits and vegetables – including frozen – during next year’s reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
“On behalf of U.S. frozen fruit and vegetable producers, AFFI commends Congress for fostering improved childhood nutrition by expanding the healthy snacks available to schools to include frozen fruits and vegetables,” said AFFI President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz.
“As confirmed by a landmark University of Georgia study, 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 that compared the nutrient content of eight commonly purchased frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“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,” said Naasz.
“We especially wish to commend Reps. Marcia Fudge and Reed Ribble along with Sen. Tom Harkin, who authored the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, for their leadership and commitment to the health and wellbeing of our nation’s schoolchildren,” concluded Naasz.
Following today’s passage by the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate is expected to approve the Farm Bill within coming days for transmission to President Obama for his signature.
The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association promoting and representing the interests of all segments of the frozen food industry. AFFI works to foster industry development and growth, and advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf. More information can be found at www.affi.org.