House Ag Committee Expands School Fruit, Vegetable Servings
The House Agriculture Committee approved a new Farm Bill that will enable elementary schools to serve a broader range of healthy fruit and vegetable snacks.
The Farm Bill approved by the committee, which sets federal nutrition and agriculture policy for the next five years, expands the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fruit and Vegetable Program to allow schools to serve all forms of fruit and vegetables as snacks, including frozen. Currently, the program restricts schools to serving only raw produce.
“AFFI commends the House Agriculture Committee for approving this vital expansion of 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. AFFI appreciates the leadership of committee chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and we look forward to working with them and their Senate colleagues to secure final passage of this important nutrition initiative,” says Kraig Naasz, president and CEO of American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), McLean, Va.
Prior to this vote, AFFI and a coalition of food growers and school nutrition groups urged the committee to support the expansion of the USDA snack program, noting that USDA’s own Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consumption of frozen fruits and vegetables.