WASHINGTON , Dec. 18 -- The United Fresh Produce Association issued the following news release: United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel issued this statement today in response to the release of a new report, Serving Healthy Meals: U.S. Schools Need Updated Kitchen Equipment, from the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project , a joint collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation . "At a time when school meal standards call for doubling the amount and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables offered to our nation's children, today's report Serving Healthy Meals: U.S. Schools Need Updated Kitchen Equipment, identifies a critical gap in the equipment available to properly store and handle fresh produce. The report finds that schools would be better able to serve meals that meet the nutrition standards if investments were made in new cafeteria equipment. School districts reported their greatest equipment challenge to be for receiving and storage of fruits and vegetables. This includes equipment such as shelving and walk-in refrigerators. United Fresh applauds USDA's announcement today of $11 million in grants to help schools purchase equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient."' "United Fresh has been a leading advocate for federal, charitable foundation and private sector investments in school cafeteria equipment. United played a leadership role in securing $100 million for school cafeteria equipment in the 2009 Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act); the first federal money in more than 30 years, and has worked with advocates to secure additional funding on Capitol Hill through Agriculture Appropriations. United Fresh's Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has also been very successful in securing private sector and foundation grant support to provide salad bars to more than 2800 schools nationwide. We are committed to increasing student's access to healthful fresh fruits and vegetables in schools and recognize that schools need adequate refrigeration to properly store fresh fruits and vegetables and salad bars to offer students a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at lunch every day. "Our experience has shown that America's businesses and foundations are committed to reducing childhood obesity, improving child nutrition and improving school food environments. We urge companies and foundations to help schools nationwide upgrade their cafeteria equipment and infrastructure to make it easier for schools to serve more healthful meals, including more fresh fruits and vegetables." TNS 24HARIcha-131220-30FurigayJane-4585122 30FurigayJane
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