July 20, 2022
Newark, De. & Washington, D.C. – Recently the International Fresh Produce Association submitted an 8-point plan of recommendations illustrating how fresh fruits and vegetables must be an integral part of the U.S. nutrition security blueprint to be unveiled at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September.
“IFPA and its Board of Directors believe our nation’s overweight and obesity epidemic cannot be reversed without a bold, targeted, systemic approach – a ‘fruit and vegetable nutrition moonshot’ by 2030 - to increase Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption,” said IFPA CEO Cathy Burns. “Now is the time to prioritize nutrition security for everyone. For fresh produce, there are barriers to that becoming a reality - some visible, some invisible - but overcoming all of them is why IFPA exists.”
Specifically, IFPA’s recommendations call for:
- Embedding Produce Prescriptions as a covered benefit within the health system.
- Embedding a dedicated fruit and vegetable benefit within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Expanding the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to all elementary schools that qualify under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and work towards expanding program to all low-income middle and high schools.
- Recalibrating and modernizing USDA purchasing programs to address nutrition insecurity and reach additional communities and nonprofit entities.
- Promoting nutrition clarity in food labeling of fruits and vegetables at FDA.
- Financially incentivizing fruit and vegetables for all Americans.
- Establishing a Cabinet-level national Director of Food and Nutrition to coordinate food and nutrition security research across governmental departments.
- Collecting and analyzing purchasing data from all federal feeding and nutrition programs as a mechanism to measure alignment with, and progress towards, achieving nutrition security
“This is an exciting time for our industry, as there is a lot of momentum around fruits and vegetables as the solution to diet-related disease,” said IFPA Vice President of Nutrition & Health Mollie Van Lieu. “Systemic, scalable policy and programs are how we will embed and institutionalize the principle of ‘millions of mouths at a time’ and achieve the federal government’s dietary guidance to make half the plate fruits and vegetables.”
With nutrition policy as one of IFPA’s priority issues, throughout 2022, the organization has been very active on topics such as expansion of the fruit and vegetable cash-value benefit in WIC, commenting on the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, greater prioritization of nutrition policy, and advocating for pro-nutrition and -produce legislation among other areas.
The association remains steadfastly committed to collaborating with policymakers to aggressively prioritize nutrition policies that improve dietary quality for every citizen.