Calls for House Passage of Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Posted by Josette Dunn on 27th September 2010

The United Fresh Produce Association is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, legislation that will reauthorize all child nutrition programs. It is critical that all child nutrition programs be reauthorized and signed into law by President Obama before they expire on September 30. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act makes important reforms and strengthens child nutrition programs by investing $4.5 billion in programs to reduce childhood hunger and childhood obesity.Important provisions in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act reflect United Fresh priorities and recommendations, including an increased reimbursement of $.06 per school lunch which is tied to serving healthier meals consistent with the Dietary Guidelines, including more fruits and vegetables. This is the first increase in the school lunch reimbursement rate in 40 years. The bill also provides more training for schools to serve healthier meals, strengthens school wellness policies and establishes national nutrition standards for all food and beverages sold in schools. Improving the nutritional quality of school meals and the school food environment is a top public policy priority for United Fresh and is critically important to promoting children’s health and reducing risk of obesity.

“For the last decade, we have been vocal advocates for improving school meals to meet the Dietary Guidelines and for increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables in programs such as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for United Fresh. “Now, time is running out for Congress to act. Child nutrition legislation is a must-pass for the health and well-being of kids across America. Passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act will start to improve children’s school meals and snacks right away.”

The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on August 5 by unanimous consent, receiving praise from United Fresh. The association worked with the Senate Agriculture Committee, congressional leadership and public health advocates to secure passage of the bill. In the past two weeks, United Fresh has stepped up efforts within the fruit and vegetable industry to encourage the House to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, including asking produce industry leaders to urge their members of Congress to vote yes on the legislation, as well as last week’s United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, which sent 525 produce industry leaders to Capitol Hill to personally meet with House and Senate lawmakers and Obama Administration officials, urging swift passage of the bill.