WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel issued this statement in response to today’s action by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
Members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee who voted today to roll back school meal nutrition standards that benefit the health of millions of American children should be embarrassed. We are disappointed in the vote to move the bill out of subcommittee, but are pleased that so many members raised strong objections to this provision, and will continue to fight any rollback that jeopardizes children’s health.
USDA reports that 91% of schools are already complying with these nutrition standards. Congress should focus on helping those schools that may face challenges in implementing the standards, not creating an “opt-out” clause just because some find it difficult. This is unfair to those thousands of schools across the country who are doing a great job and providing healthier meals to their students.
The childhood obesity crisis is real – with the early onset of diabetes and the enormous burden of healthcare costs on society. Moms and dads know the challenge of helping our kids make healthy choices – but we don’t opt-out of trying. We put our own kids’ health first, and it’s time for Congress to put all of our kids’ health first.
As the Ag Appropriations Bill makes its way through the Congress, we call on members of both parties to stand up for kids health, and not roll back these very basic nutrition standards for the nation’s school meals.
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org or call 202-303-3400.