Frozen fruits and vegetables are both nutritious and a great value, according to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans released today at the opening session of the National Nutrition Summit. This significant step by the federal government to bring its dietary recommendations into line with the body of scientific evidence regarding the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables was applauded by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, provide recommendations to consumers on diet, nutrition and physical activity. Revisions to the Guidelines are considered every five years.

The new Guidelines encourage consumers to include plenty of different fruits and vegetables in their meals and snacks, and specifically recommend that consumers, "Buy Wisely. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are sometimes best buys, and they are rich in nutrients."

According to the government's recommendations, Americans should consume at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables each day. The Guidelines advise consumers to choose fresh, frozen, dried or canned forms and a variety of colors and kinds.

"The new Dietary Guidelines now officially recognize the nutritional benefits and value of frozen fruits and vegetables. By highlighting these facts, the government is increasing the likelihood that consumers will actually be able to meet its dietary recommendations. Given today's hectic lifestyles, Americans rely on the convenience that frozen products offer, in addition to these other benefits," said AFFI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin.

Sarasin continued, "The Guidelines' inclusion of frozen fruits and vegetables is one of the most significant victories for the frozen food industry and consumers since the Food and Drug Administration put its stamp of approval on the nutritional value of frozen products two years ago." In March 1998, FDA approved AFFI's petition to allow frozen fruits and vegetables to be labeled as "healthy." The agency ruled that frozen produce has equivalent, if not better, nutrient profiles than fresh produce.

For more information about the many benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables, visit AFFI's web site, www.HealthyFood.org.

The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association that has represented the interests of the frozen food industry for more than 58 years. Its 550 corporate members account for more than 90 percent of the frozen food production in the U.S.