WASHINGTON -- The United Fresh Produce Association is cheering a new
proposed rule from the Department of Agriculture that would significantly
increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables served to the 32 million
students served by the National School Lunch Program.
The proposed rule, announced Jan. 13, seeks to align the National School
Breakfast and Lunch programs with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and Institute
of Medicine's recommendations, both of which call for increased consumption
of fruits and vegetables.
"Fruits and vegetables really are the stars of this proposed rule," Lorelei
DiSogra, United's vice president of nutrition and health, said in a Jan. 13 press
release. "We are pleased that the proposed rule will double the amount of fruit
served at breakfast, double the amount of fruits and vegetables served at
lunch and increase variety. Children like fresh fruits and vegetables and will
eat more when they are available in school meals. Increasing children's
consumption of fruits and vegetables will improve their health and reduce
their risk of childhood obesity."
All schools would be expected to implement the proposed rule beginning in
school year 2012-13.
"The new proposed meal requirements will raise standards for the first time
in 15 years and will help improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million
kids that participate in school meal programs every school day," Dr. DiSogra
added. "Together with the recently passed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, this
rule will dramatically increase the amount of fruits and vegetables available to
While the initial analysis of the proposed rule is very positive for fruits and
vegetables, there are still many details to examine that will affect the produce
industry. United Fresh will form a working group to review the rule and
provide comprehensive comments back to USDA within the 90-day comment