“United Fresh strongly opposes legislation recently introduced by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) that would overhaul the FFVP to include processed fruits and vegetables. For more than a decade, FFVP has provided 4 million low-income elementary students with a fresh fruit or vegetable snack every day. One of the most frequently and highly evaluated federal nutrition programs, FFVP has been a model of success, consistently demonstrating effectiveness in increasing children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. In fact, two program evaluations (2007 and 2012) in Wisconsin have concluded the “significant positive program effect” of FFVP. Additionally, a recent study from the University of Arkansas demonstrates that FFVP even plays a significant role in reducing childhood obesity among participating students. Most importantly, none of the evaluations in Wisconsin or around the country have EVER called for the program to include processed fruits and vegetables.
“Finally, the notion that this change will increase access to more fruits and vegetables is completely unfounded given the fact that, in the last five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has purchased almost $3 billion in fruits and vegetables – and 96% of those purchases went to canned, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables. The evidence is overwhelming; kids are already provided a diverse array of processed fruits and vegetables in school lunch and breakfast every day. Congress should hail FFVP for its positive impact, not overhaul it. We will continue to work with members of Congress to keep the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Progam FRESH.”