CINCINNATI, Feb. 9 Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) announced today its support for the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation's "A Salad Bar in Every School" campaign.
This multi-year financial and public health commitment by Chiquita and its Fresh Express subsidiary will help support bringing fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. Chiquita is the first produce company to commit to this vital campaign. The Children's Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009 (H.R. 4333) introduced by Representatives Sam Farr and Adam Putnam, along with numerous co-sponsors, supports a national salad bar policy for schools, as well as better access to fruits and vegetables, which will be required to enable schools to meet the dietary guidelines.
The launch of the "Salad Bar in Every School" campaign comes in conjunction with the Obama Administration's bipartisan childhood obesity initiative "Let's Move." The enhanced spotlight provided by First Lady Michelle Obama's national 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.
"We are committed to promoting better childhood nutrition and wellness and we are pleased to join United Fresh in this campaign," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "We can't think of a better way to support this effort than by providing improved access to fruits and vegetables with school salad bars. We have already been an active partner in this campaign, and we call on our industry colleagues to join this important effort. We applaud Mrs. Obama's initiative and look forward to promoting it with our Congressional representatives."
Research has shown that children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when given a variety of choices in a school salad bar. When offered multiple fruit and vegetable choices, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. A study concluded that cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat intakes were lowered in school children with access to a school salad bar.
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.
"We are delighted to have Chiquita and Fresh Express as early partners in this important initiative for our nation's children," said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer. "We're honored that Chiquita and its Fresh Express subsidiary have provided thought leadership, active support, and funding for this campaign, and look forward to their continued leadership."
United Fresh donated its first salad bar to the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. last fall, where it continues to help school officials foster healthier choices and children's interest in a variety of fresh produce items. Public school children in Salinas County California - the location of the Fresh Express headquarters - have enjoyed school salad bars for several years.
About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. 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 nearly $4 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 23,000 people and has operations in more than 80 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit www.chiquitabrands.com.
SOURCE Chiquita Brands International, Inc.