The US Department of Agriculture has said it will buy ten million pounds of frozen strawberries for use in federal food and nutrition programmes, its largest purchase in five years.

In fiscal 2002 the USDA bought around 6.1 million pounds of frozen strawberries for around $4.1m, compared to 6.6 million pounds for $3.6m in the previous year.

“President Bush’s Healthier US Initiative encourages healthful eating and physical activity including consumption of fruits and vegetables,” US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman was quoted as saying by Reuters. “This purchase will increase the opportunity for recipients to incorporate fruit into their diets.”