ERIC Number: ED479401
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-May
Reference Count: N/A
Availability of Fresh Produce in Nutrition Assistance Programs.
Food and Nutrition Service (USDA), Alexandria, VA. Office of Analysis and Evaluation.
Noting that fruit and vegetable consumption is an important component of a balanced diet consistent with the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" and the Food Guide Pyramid, this report fulfills a request from the Appropriations Committee Directives to analyze current levels of fresh produce in Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional programs, including school lunch programs. The report examines the USDA commodity purchasing process and the agencies involved in these purchases, and describes the nutrition assistance programs administered by the Food and Nutrition Service providing food or benefits supporting fruit/vegetable consumption. The report also estimates current levels of produce in nutrition assistance programs, as well as the percentage of the dollar value of donated commodities that are fresh. It is noted that 15 to 20 percent of commodity fruits and vegetables were provided to schools as fresh produce, supplementing local school purchases. The final section of the report examines barriers to increasing fresh produce purchases through the conventional USDA commodity donation program and its efforts to increase fresh produce availability through the Department of Defense (DoD). The report asserts that the current USDA distribution method works best for nonperishables and bulk volumes rather than fresh produce. Although the DoD Fresh Produce Program provides an effective mechanism for delivering smaller quantities of fresh produce to schools and Indian reservations, the program does not support the mission of surplus removal, and DoD fresh produce is not available in all parts of the nation. The report concludes by suggesting that encouraging school districts to increase purchases of fresh produce from local distributors may be just as effective as increasing purchases from the DoD. (KB)
USDA Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926, Alexandria, VA 22302. E-mail: OANEWEB@fns.usda.gov; Web Site: http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane. For full text: http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/CNP/FILES/FreshProduce.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Food and Nutrition Service (USDA), Alexandria, VA. Office of Analysis and Evaluation.