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Nutritional Value of Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Nutritional Value of Frozen Fruits and Vegetables


On March 25, 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an American Frozen Food Institute petition to allow frozen produce to be labelled as “healthy.”  FDA published its final rule in the Federal Register and wrote, “In efforts to evaluate the nutrient content of frozen fruits and vegetables compared to that of raw fruits and vegetables, the agency reviewed both the AFFI’s supplemental data and similar data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The nutrient profiles of selected raw fruits and vegetables and frozen, single ingredient versions of the same fruits and vegetables revealed relatively equivalent nutrient profiles.”

“In fact, some data showed that the nutrient content level for certain nutrients was higher in the frozen version of the food than in the raw version of the food. This is probably attributable to the fact that unprocessed (i.e. raw) fruits and vegetables may lose some of their nutrients over time under certain storage conditions.”

“Further, based on these data, the agency concludes that because single ingredient, frozen fruits or vegetable products are nutritionally comparable to the raw versions, they would likely have the same inherent beneficial effects as the raw version. Precluding such foods from bearing the term ‘healthy’ could undermine an important element of current dietary guidance as the basis for the ‘heathy’ claim that is to assist consumers in constructing a diet that conforms to dietary guidelines.”

FDA published its final rule in the Federal Register and wrote, “In efforts to evaluate the nutrient content of frozen fruits and vegetables compared to that of raw fruits and vegetables, the agency reviewed both the AFFI’s supplemental data and similar data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The nutrient profiles of selected raw fruits and vegetables and frozen, single ingredient versions of the same fruits and vegetables revealed relatively equivalent nutrient profiles.”

“In fact, some data showed that the nutrient content level for certain nutrients was higher in the frozen version of the food than in the raw version of the food. This is probably attributable to the fact that unprocessed (i.e. raw) fruits and vegetables may lose some of their nutrients over time under certain storage conditions.”

“Further, based on these data, the agency concludes that because single ingredient, frozen fruits or vegetable products are nutritionally comparable to the raw versions, they would likely have the same inherent beneficial effects as the raw version. Precluding such foods from bearing the term ‘healthy’ could undermine an important element of current dietary guidance as the basis for the ‘heathy’ claim that is to assist consumers in constructing a diet that conforms to dietary guidelines.”

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