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SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM RELIES ON PROCESSED FOODS, SAYS INDUSTRY

 /ADVANCE/ ATLANTA, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Processed foods "must continue to play a fundamental role in the government's school lunch program," according to the National Food Processors Association (NFPA).
 "Processed foods are unsurpassed in terms of their nutritional value, cost, convenience of preparation, year-round availability and appeal to children," said NFPA President and CEO John R. Cady. "Any move to reduce the role they play in government food programs would be a real mistake."
 Cady commented on the occasion of a hearing on nutrition objectives for school meals conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Atlanta. James B. Ethier, president and chief operating officer of Bush Brothers and Company, testified at the hearing on behalf of NFPA and its 500 members.
 "Children eagerly consume and enjoy processed foods such as fruits, juices and specialty products such as pasta," Ethier stated. "These foods are an important part of any effort to improve children's nutrition."
 The NFPA spokesman spelled out these advantages of processed foods:
 -- The products are readily available year-round in a wide variety of forms that offer many menu choices.
 -- Studies funded by USDA show that nutrient values for fresh, frozen and canned food products are equivalent following typical preparation for serving.
 -- Canned and frozen foods virtually eliminate spoilage and maintain excellent quality and nutrition value for long periods.
 -- Processed foods come without hulls, pods, vines, peels, cores and all the other wastes that would have to be disposed of in preparing foods from the raw or fresh state.
 -- The cost of maintaining refrigerated space essential for storage of fresh foods is completely eliminated with such foods as canned and dehydrated products.
 "A major effort in school lunch programs is to minimize the labor required for food preparation. Food processors do the cutting, peeling, chopping and even the cooking that otherwise would have to be done by school lunch personnel," Ethier noted.
 "The school lunch program and other government food programs are critical in achieving nutritional objectives for our nation's children," Cady added. "If these programs are to remain effective, the role that processed foods play must not be lessened."
 Bush Brothers and Company is based in Knoxville, Tenn.
 The National Food Processors Association is the scientific voice of the food industry, focusing exclusively on food issues. NFPA's three food science laboratories serve its 500 member companies, manufacturers of the nation's processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, juices and drinks and specialty products.
 -0- 10/13/93/0800
 /CONTACT: Roger Coleman of the National Food Processors Association, 202-639-5935/ CO: National Food Processors Association ST: District of Columbia, Georgia IN: SU:


DC-KD -- DC025 -- 1351 10/12/93 17:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 12, 1993
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