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Some produce companies have referred to fresh fruits and vegetables as the best medicine there is, and it appears as if the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc., better known simply as A&P, just might agree.

The retailer, one of the older chainstores in the nation, has added a fresh produce component to its "Live Better! Wellness Club."

The club is a value-added program for its loyalty card that gives members discounts on prescriptions drugs, personalized health and nutrition information, access to clinical pharmacists, and health-based recipes and discounts on healthy living products.

Laura La Bruno, senior director of public relations for the 151-year-old chain that is based in Montvale, NJ, said that produce has now been added to the "Fresh & Healthy Rewards" program.

"This program provides 'Live Better! Wellness Club' members who spend $50 in the produce section a coupon for 20 percent off a future produce purchase," she said. In addition, specific produce items will be featured as discounted products for club members.

Ms. La Bruno said that the "Live Better! Wellness Club" was designed to promote a healthful lifestyle and diet for individuals and families. Through the use of their upgraded loyalty cards, members automatically receive discounts on hundreds of popular over-the-counter items and a range of grocery products that promote more healthful eating for them and their families.

In addition, members can download healthy recipes and other nutrition tips from the program-specific web site. Members are also eligible to participate in the chain's prescription drug program, which gives large discounts on generic drugs.

Members of this club must be existing members of the chain's loyalty card program. They then fill out an application and pay a $9.99 enrollment fee, but then immediately receive a coupon for the same amount off their next $25 purchase of groceries. The information provided on the application card does allow A&P to offer individual club members specific discounts based on their personal health history, but each club member must authorize the chain to do so on the enrollment application.

This program is available at many of the stores operated by A&P, such as Super Fresh Stores, Waldbaum Inc. and Pathmark Stores, in addition to the flagship A&P banner locations.