CINCINNATI, May 10 Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) today joined forces with Cincinnati's bipartisan Congressional representatives and Cincinnati Public Schools to support the United Fresh Foundation's "A Salad Bar in Every School" campaign by dedicating a new salad bar at Cincinnati's Academy of World Languages. U.S. Representatives Steve Driehaus (OH-1) and Jean Schmidt (OH-2) joined the ceremony with Chiquita's Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre, as well as Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) Superintendent Mary Ronan and United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel.
"Promoting better childhood nutrition and wellness in our hometown schools is a great way to give back to our community," said Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita chairman and chief executive officer. "Improved access to fruits and vegetables with school salad bars is a winning proposition for our kids and schools. We are proud to be part of this bipartisan effort and are committed to expanding this initiative."
In addition to the new salad bar at the Academy of World Languages, salad bars have also been added at Cincinnati's Carson Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Montessori and John P. Parker Elementary Schools. Three of the salad bars were provided by the United Foundation's Salad Bar in Every School campaign, as part of a multi-year financial and public health commitment by Chiquita and its Fresh Express subsidiary to support bringing fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. The fourth salad bar was purchased by CPS.
"I love the idea of 'a salad bar in every school,' and I want to thank Chiquita for helping to make that a reality," said CPS' Superintendent Mary Ronan. "By encouraging our students to make salads for lunch with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, we'll be teaching healthy eating habits that will keep students alert in classes and serve them well all their lives."
"Access to healthy fruits and vegetables is a key component in helping kids lead healthy, active lifestyles," said Representative Steve Driehaus. "I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of the Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act which will help put in place the tools needed to make this a reality for more kids in Cincinnati Public Schools and across the nation."
"This program is a tremendous opportunity for kids to make healthy choices in their daily diet," said Representative Jean Schmidt. "The United Fresh Foundation's, A Salad Bar in Every School campaign is a great first step to fight obesity and start our children on the path to a healthy diet and a healthy life."
Launched in February 2010 by the United Fresh Foundation, the Salad Bar in Every School campaign is a multi-year public health commitment from the fresh produce industry designed to bring fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. Chiquita was the first produce company to commit to the campaign. In addition, the enhanced spotlight provided by First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign provides a unique and timely opportunity to promote school salad bars throughout the country and for the Congress to pass the Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009 (H.R. 4333) introduced by Representatives Sam Farr and Adam Putnam, which supports a national salad bar policy for schools, as well as better access to fruits and vegetables to enable schools to meet dietary guidelines.
"Research shows that children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when their school has a fruit and vegetable salad bar," said United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra. "Salad Bars provide children with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to try and this increased access helps them develop personal experiences that can shape their behavior far beyond the school lunch line. The goal is for children to develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits."
"It is important for students to have increased access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "United Fresh has a long track record of success increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for children. Alongside the $1 billion federal commitment to national expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable School Snack Program and the launch of more than $750 million annually in fruit and vegetable vouchers for moms and children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Salad Bar in Every School campaign truly has the produce industry poised to make a difference."
The United Fresh Foundation's "Salad Bar in Every School" campaign is based on the personal involvement and charitable commitment of produce growers, distributors and marketers in raising private funds to donate salad bars to schools in cities and counties across the country to serve as demonstration models for increasing children's fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. These demonstration projects will then assist school nutrition professionals, principals and teachers, parents groups and community supporters in working with local, state and federal government officials to bring salad bars to all schools.
About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products - from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of $3.5 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 21,000 people and has operations in nearly 80 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit our corporate Web site at www.chiquitabrands.com.
United Fresh Research & Education Foundation
Founded in 1998, the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that offers specialized programs to meet members' needs in educational training, leadership development, food safety outreach and industry research. Foundation programs are designed to promote knowledge, leadership and growth in the produce industry. The Foundation is an affiliate organization of the United Fresh Produce Association. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org
SOURCE Chiquita Brands International, Inc.