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USDA Adds Walnuts to Government Sponsored Meals

FOLSOM, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its decision to purchase walnuts as part of the School Lunch Buy, a government sponsored feeding program.

"This purchase represents welcomed support from the USDA, making walnuts available for the first time in several years, and will help distribute the industry's record crop of 434,000 short tons, exceeding the previous record crop of 355,000 short tons set in 2005," says California Walnut Board Chairman and Public Member, Jerome B. Siebert, PhD.

"Our industry is proud to provide a tasty and nutritious product to school children and others in-need throughout the United States, particularly at a time when so many people are seeking assistance," says Dennis A. Balint, Executive Director of the California Walnut Board.

Unique among nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) the plant based omega-3 fatty acid essential to the human body. In addition, a one-ounce serving of walnuts provides 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and many antioxidants (13.126 mmol/gram) including ellagic acid, melatonin and gamma-tocopherol(1).

California harvests 99% of the walnuts available in the United States and the majority of the world supply. The industry is comprised of over 4,800 walnut growers and 58 processors, most of which are family businesses working in the fertile California Central Valley. Walnut trees can produce quality nuts for 75 to 100 years and orchards are often passed down from generation to generation.

The California Walnut Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The CWB is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers and is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs as well as funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.


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The California walnut industry is made up of over 4,800 growers and 58 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).

California Walnut Board

The Walnut Marketing Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. In April 2008, the Walnut Marketing Board became the California Walnut Board to provide origin designation to the product it represents. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.

California Walnut Commission

The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance programs. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the CWB / CWC offices at (916) 922-5888. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). WMB/CWC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

(1) Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13.4g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.6 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3. (

SOURCE California Walnut Board
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