Are they kidding?
As the House GOP wrestles with whether to overhaul the food stamp program and tie it to work in the new farm bill that passed the Agriculture Committee in April, other small changes to the previous law stand out that could markedly affect longstanding federal nutrition programs.
Some lawmakers want to add frozen, canned, pureed and dried produce to the menus of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schoolchildren.
It’s a proposal Maine GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin says will help American children “be able to eat healthy all year round with nutritious products from across the country,” according to The Associated Press.
Democrats are already pushing back on the proposal to open the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which grants public schools money to purchase fresh produce to provide as snacks for its students free of charge, to more processed goods.
“Once you start whittling away at it, it’s no longer a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program,” former Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who initiated the program in 2002, told the AP.
Harkin is dubious of frozen fruits and vegetables because of the sugar and chemicals added to keep them from rotting too quickly. It’d be better to skip freezing and packaging blueberries and instead send fresh bushels straight to the schools, he said.