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Published: Tuesday, 10/5/2004

School fruit, veggie pilot expands

The fresh fruit and vegetable pilot program, in which several northwest Ohio schools participated during the last two school years, has been expanded.

President Bush signed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265) into law in June. The act makes nutritious meals and snacks available to more children in school, in programs outside school hours, and in child care. It also improves the quality of food in schools.

The fresh fruit and vegetable pilots began in selected schools in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and an Indian reservation in New Mexico. The act expands the pilots to Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Indian reservations in Arizona and South Dakota, with special emphasis in new states on serving children in low-income areas.

The act also simplifies the school meal application process by phasing in mandatory direct certification of food stamp households as eligible for free school meals. It also extends eligibility for snacks and meals for children in homeless and domestic violence shelters up to age 18. The cut-off had been age 12.

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