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Regulation: Fresh fruit and vegetable program (FFVP)
Agency: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA
Action: Proposed rule
Deadline for public comment: April 24, 2012
The Food and Nutrition Service is proposing changes to guidelines to National School Lunch Program. This change interests me, as I am a dietician and educating children to make smart food choices, helps the develop healthy eating habits in the future. FFVP increases availability of fresh produce to elementary schools, where at least 50% of students are eligible to receive free or reduced price meals. This regulation would set basic administrative and operational requirements in conformance with Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Program.
I would like to submit my comment on the proposed rule related to changes in National School Lunch Program. I believe that FFVP is beneficial for children’s growth, development and building future healthy eating habits, as well as decreases risk of health problems. Most children do not achieve recommended intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. This food group provides a variety of micronutrients and fiber; it is also emphasized by 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to maintain excellent health and fight obesity and eating disorders.
In my opinion, proposed 15 % of founds for non-food supplies and operations may not be enough, maybe something could be done to reduce administrative cost, to ensure the resources get to the right group.
What concerns me at this point, the FFVP will be only available during normal school times, which means the schools, are not allowed to offer the program during summer schools and after school programs. It seems like a minimum requirement is to provide fresh produce minimum twice a week, in my opinion it would not be sufficient. Parents need to be involved in this program as well, so the initiative does not end, when children leave school.