Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman says the U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase up to 39.1 million pounds of fruit and vegetables for donation to schools, neighborhood shelters for needy families and other food aid institutions.

“An important message in President Bush's Healthier U.S. initiative, which encourages Americans to eat healthy and incorporate physical activity into their lifestyles, is to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables,” said Veneman. “This purchase will increase the opportunity for recipients to incorporate these foods into their diets.”