Don't rely on produce 'bailout'

11/12/2010 09:16:01 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

The federal government isn’t doing enough to promote recommended fruit and vegetable consumption and costs taxpayers billions of dollars in the process, according to The Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 2010 Gap Analysis.

Well, yes and no.

It’s important that advocacy agents like PBH and members of the fresh produce industry continue to promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption — and the government, through school lunch and snack programs, Women, Infant and Children funding and numerous farm bill initiatives, is a key partner.

But the onus should not be on the government to double spending, as PBH suggests.

Doubling government spending does not equal doubling of American fresh produce consumption, as much as we’d love to believe that math.

Keeping the fresh produce industry as government subsidy-free as possible is just as vital as reminding ourselves that the Obama administration’s throw-money-at-the-problem-until-it’s-fixed philosophy lacks sound fundamentals in logic and reality.

The industry should continue to pursue increased consumption through a wide variety of tasteful and healthful offerings, pursuit of emerging markets and product trends, and innovation, and not pin its hopes on a potential fruit and vegetable “bailout.”



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