Produce industry members have just days to tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture their thoughts on a proposal that would add more fruits and vegetables to school childrensâ meals.
âThere is no one that benefits more in this proposed rule than fruits and vegetables â no one,â said Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.
In an e-mail, DiSogra urged association members to submit comments on the proposed USDA rule. The comment period for the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs expires April 13.
Children now eat less than half of the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables for good health, DiSogra said in the e-mail. There have been no changes to school lunch nutrition standards for 15 years.
The USDA said in the proposed rule that the biggest change in the nutrition standards for school breakfast is the increase in fruit, which doubles the current requirement to one cup a day. Meanwhile, school lunches will see an increase of nearly four servings a week in fruits and vegetables.
The association objects to one provision in the rule that limits starchy vegetables â white potatoes, corn and peas â served in school meals.
âThat proposal is not aligned with the Dietary Guidelines, and inappropriately restricts a healthy vegetable,â DiSogra said in the letter.