Chiquita Brands International has teamed up with the US department of agriculture to promote MYPLATE, the new food advice initiative.

The US produce group said yesterday (24 August) that it is now a national strategic partner of the USDA’s Nutrition Communicator’s Network and will help push up awareness of MyPlate – a graphic released in June to offer dietary advice to US consumers – as well as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, launched in January.

MyPlate is part of the US government’s efforts to tackle the obesity problem and was launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, the agriculture secretary and the surgeon general.

Chiquita is among the first national produce companies to join the network, which includes Dole Food Co., Birds Eye Foods and Seneca Foods.

Fernando Aguirre, chairman and CEO of Chiquita, said: “The MyPlate programme and the ‘Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables’ message makes it easier than ever for consumers to understand how to make healthier food choices and maintain well-balanced diets. We look forward to working together to help advance better nutrition.”

Dr. Robert Post, deputy director for the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, added: “Companies like Chiquita are helping consumers understand how and why choosing fruits and vegetables and other smart food choices can improve health and are an important part of our promotion and partnership efforts.”