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Industry associations Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Produce for Better Health (PBH), United Fresh, and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) today announced their support of the United States House of Representative’s passage of The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
"We applaud the House for passing The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act – this crucial legislation will help feed many more children through school lunch and breakfast programs and increase the number of healthy choices in the cafeteria,” said GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey.
“On behalf of GMA and its member companies I want to especially thank Committee Chairman Miller, and Congressmen and Congresswomen, DeLauro, Castle, McGovern, Platts and Woolsey for their leadership in getting this important bill passed,” she added. “The food and beverage industry believes the school environment is a special environment and that the school cafeteria line can be on the front lines of feeding children while ending childhood obesity within a generation.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act will improve children’s access to nutritious meals by increasing access to the school meals programs, setting science-based standards for foods sold in schools during the school day, and providing for more healthy foods available in the school cafeteria.
“United Fresh and our members have helped lead the charge for healthier school meals for many years,” said United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel. “It is so encouraging to see Congress recognize that giving kids healthier options is a great first step toward fostering a healthier country.”
United Fresh has established itself as a proven leader in child nutrition and recently launched Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has pledged to donate 6,000 salad bars to schools nationwide in the next 3 years. The initiative, online at www.saladbars2schools.org, is an example of how increased consumption of fruits and vegetables plays a vital role in improving the health of America’s kids, according to the group. United Fresh also championed the inclusion of fruits and vegetable vouchers in the WIC program and nationwide expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program.
PMA president and CEO Bryan Silbermann also announced his support for the bill. “PMA is pleased to see the House pass the Senate’s child nutrition reauthorization bill,” he said. “In this challenging economy, American families are struggling to make ends meet and more kids are participating in school feeding programs. The programs included in child nutrition reauthorization will improve children's health by making fruits and vegetables more available for our nation's youth by setting nutritional standards for food sold outside school meals and by improving the nutrition of food in schools.
PBH said it was pleased that lawmakers set aside their political differences to address children’s’ health.
"Our schools will be able to offer more healthy fruits and vegetables to students across the nation," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of PBH. "With one in four children at risk of hunger and one in three overweight or obese, our children could not afford to wait another year for better nutrition."