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WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), joined by his colleagues Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), introduced the Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act on Thursday.

The bipartisan legislation would expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which improves children’s in-school snacks in schools districts with low-income families. The bill would allow the program to include all forms of fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and pureed. This ensures that schools can more effectively use their program dollars, and it accommodates cold-weather states where local fruit and vegetable harvests are seasonal.

“We should allow our schools in Wisconsin the flexibility they need to provide nutritious foods for our children,” Johnson said. “By opening the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to all forms of fruits and vegetables, schools utilizing the program are given the opportunity to maximize the nourishing snacks they provide children with taxpayers’ dollars. I am pleased that Senators Donnelly, Coats and Baldwin have joined me in supporting this initiative. Better access to healthy foods for children is something we can all agree on.”

“Providing children in need with access to nutritious fruits and vegetables is critical to building healthy diets, and I am proud to work with my colleagues to give school districts flexibility to operate such an important program,” said Donnelly.

“School children should have access to a full range of healthy fruit and vegetable snack options,” said Coats. “This common-sense solution ensures children can enjoy an expanded array of nutritious snacks throughout the school year and schools can get more out of their program funds.”

“Giving our schools the flexibility to serve a broad range of fruits and vegetables is a major part of helping our children get more of the daily nutrients they need,” Baldwin said. “Our farmers grow the corn, carrots, peas, sweet corn and cranberries that give kids the healthy foods they need to succeed and I’m proud to support this effort that will boost our Grown in Wisconsin economy.”

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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