With the House farm bill already containing a provision that would open up the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to all forms (canned, frozen, dried), the Senate will reportedly consider a similar amendment from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin.
The American Frozen Food Institute sees their incursion into the fresh program as well-deserved, of course. From their release about the House Farm bill, their chief Kraig Naasz talks about both the (Fresh) Fruit and Vegetable Program and the nationwide expansion of “flex” acreage:
McLean, VA – American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz today commended the House Agriculture Committee for approving a new Farm Bill that enhances the ability of elementary school nutritionists to serve a wider range of healthy fruit and vegetable snacks.
The Farm Bill approved by the committee sets federal nutrition and agriculture policy for the next five years and expands the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fruit and Vegetable Program to allow schools to serve all forms of fruit and vegetables—including frozen—as snacks. Under current law, schools are restricted in what they can serve to only fresh produce.
“AFFI applauds the House Agriculture Committee for approving this much-needed expansion of USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Program. Expanding this program to include all forms of fruits and vegetables—including frozen—will enable school nutritionists to serve the widest possible variety of healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables throughout the entire school year.
“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 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that encourage the consumption of frozen fruits and vegetables.”
AFFI also commends the House and Senate Agricultural Committees for agreeing to extend the Farm Flex planting program nationwide, thereby allowing fruit and vegetable growers to plant their crops on federal program acres. Extending this program, first piloted under the 2008 Farm Bill, will provide producers with greater flexibility to help meet the increased demand for U.S. grown fruits and vegetables.