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    Appeals Court Ponders FTC Request to Kill Whole Foods/Wild Oats Deal

    The produce trade group pledged continued work with congressional leaders on food safety.

    A new bipartisan food safety bill introduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Putman (R-Fla.), had United Fresh Produce Association president Tom Stenzel applauding yesterday.

    "There are a number of provisions in this bipartisan bill that can work to enhance a strong food safety regulatory framework that builds public confidence in fresh produce," said Stenzel of the Food Enforcement, Assessment, Standards and Targeting Act (Safe FEAST Act).

    Stenzel said the Washington, D.C.-based trade group will continue working with the bill's sponsors, as well as other congressional leaders in both the House and Senate, to hammer out the details.

    "Fresh produce is an essential part of the diet to improve public health, with the federal government's own 2005 Dietary Guidelines calling for consumption of 9-13 servings per day for fruits and vegetables," said Stenzel. "That's almost double current consumption for most consumers, and has led to the public health campaign Fruits and Veggies: More Matters led by the Centers for Disease Control and the Produce for Better Health Foundation."

    In order to meet these health goals, the public must have confidence that the federal government, states, produce companies and growers are working together across the total produce industry to assure the safest possible foods, said Stenzel. "Our industry is committed to employing best agricultural and handling practices for both domestically grown and imported foods...to ensure that we provide the safest and most healthy, nutritious produce possible to American consumers."

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