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NEWARK, Del. - Reinforcing the call it made earlier this year urging the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (DGAC) to strengthen its guideline on produce consumption, the Produce Marketing Association this week applauded the DGAC's efforts in reinforcing the importance of fruits and vegetables in the new guidelines.
PMA submitted written comments to the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Sept. 27. In its comments, PMA also expressed concern about food safety advice specific to produce that was included in the guidelines.
"These Dietary Guidelines set the foundation for federal feeding programs and nutrition professionals around the country," said PMA v.p. of government relations Kathy Means. "Having the recommendation of five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is based on sound science and it is achievable. The produce industry, working together with nutritionists and others interested in building a healthy America, must find ways to turn these guidelines into consumer actions."
Citing the obesity crisis and rising rates of chronic, diet-related illnesses, PMA commended the committee for its emphasis on replacing nutrient-poor foods with nutrient-rich foods and recognizing the fact that Americans need to make better choices in the foods they eat.
In its comments, PMA also addressed the challenge of educating consumers on the concept of serving sizes. While consumers understand that they need to eat more fruits and vegetables, Means explained that many consumers are baffled when trying to determine a serving size.
Another issue PMA addressed in its comments was the inclusion of advice focused on washing fruits and vegetables. "While we are somewhat perplexed that this one segment of the food industry was singled out in these guidelines for particular attention, we concur with the advice given," Means said, adding that the advice given in the guidelines is also contained in a safe produce handling consumer education campaign (developed by PMA and the Partnership for Food Safety Education) that will be unveiled Oct. 18 at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, Calif.