Thursday, June 21, 2012

CFA/SRI Assist Nevada’s WIC Food Program to Accept Steel Canned Beans

The state of Nevada recently announced that it will be adding canned beans to its Oct. 2012 approved food list for all Women, Infants and Children participating in the state’s WIC food and nutrition assistance program, thanks to the efforts of the Canned Food Alliance (CFA) and the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI). This joint effort presents an opportunity for WIC participants to have access to more nutritious foods and allows them to select steel canned goods as their preferred form of food. And with Americans using a combined 100 million steel food cans a day; it is a popular choice that meets family lifestyles and preferences.

There are currently 25 states who only offer fresh fruits and vegetables and 35 who offer both canned and dried bean varieties. The CFA has been working with SRI to reach Lt. Governors to help encourage those states to add “all forms” of fruits, vegetables and beans, including those that come in the most sustainable food package, the steel food can. Nevada’s announcement comes as the first in 2012, but off the heels of a successful 2011, where two states elected to allow WIC participants to purchase canned fruits and vegetables with their fruit and vegetable voucher and five states added canned beans to their WIC food packages.

A study in the recently published Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences stated when price, waste and preparation time were considered, canned foods offered many nutrients at a comparable and often lower cost than competing materials. Even the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends “all forms” of fruits, vegetables and beans to help meet dietary goals.

In addition to their budgetary and nutritional value,, steel food cans have added benefits thanks to their convenience, long shelf life and ultimately their inherent recyclability at end of use. Being made from steel, North America’s most recycled material, lets consumers know that recycling their can through their community curbside or recycling program will conserve energy, save natural resources and keep valuable material out of the nation’s diminishing landfill space.

The CFA and SRI will continue to work together to encourage the USDA and individual states to expand food and nutrition assistance programs to include steel food cans. After all, from the nutrient filled ingredients that get packed into a steel can, to the ease and longevity of storing until it’s ready for use and ultimately the responsible disposal of the steel can through recycling programs, canned foods serve as an answer to help all Americans have access to healthy food choices; which in turn will contribute to driving canned food consumption and complete the life cycle of steel as a sustainable material.

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