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Title: What Constitutes a Fruit or Vegetable Serving Equivalent in Processed Products?

item McHugh, Tara

Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: WHO and FAO are part of a global initiative to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables, stating that low fruit and vegetable intake is a key risk factor for obesity, heart disease, and cancer, accounting at least 2.7 million deaths a year to insufficient fruit and vegetable intake. The President’s Healthier U.S. initiative and the National +5 A Day Partnership support finding new ways to help meet the recommended guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption to improve the nutritional status of Americans and combat obesity. Today 85% of our nation’s children and 60% of adults do not meet +5 A Day recommendations for fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, 90% of American food income goes to buy processed foods. Most of the fruits and vegetables Americans consume are processed and their equivalents as servings of fruit or vegetable are poorly defined. The American Dietetic Association states that one of the main barriers to consumption of fruits and vegetables is convenience. There is a serious need for healthy, convenient fruit- and vegetable-based alternatives. The nutritional value of these processed products must be validated and standards for serving size equivalents established to support their entry into the marketplace and the USDA school lunch program. What exactly constitutes a serving of fruit or vegetable in a processed fruit or vegetable product? Should incorporation of fruit juice concentrate in processed products contribute towards a serving? Fruit juice? Fruit puree? These are important questions that need to be answered. This panel discussion will include short presentations by authorities from the FDA, USDA, universities, commodity organizations and industry. Significant time will also be provided for a lively discussion. By the end of the session, we hope to lay a path forward to better define fruit and vegetable serving equivalents in processed products in the future.